MANILA – A Dutch-Filipino artist won the prestigious Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel in Switzerland.
Martha Atienza was recognized for her work “Our Island, 11°16`58.4” 123°45`07.0”E,” described by Silverlens Galleries as “an underwater Ati-atihan” that reenacted national events and issues in the Philippines such as the Papal visit and the war on drugs.
“[Her video installation] shows a traditional procession from her native Philippines, which she alienates by placing it underwater. We watch the procession passing as if in an aquarium: Christ carrying the cross, men in women’s clothes and demonstrators carrying tableaux with political slogans, threatened from behind by menacing, armed henchmen,” said a post on the website of the Baloise Group.
“Through her cast of characters and choice of setting, Atienza presents a both critical and humorous take not only on the state of the Philippines but also on the threat of climate change to which the country is increasingly exposed through the warming of the world’s oceans.”
Atienza received 30,000 Swiss francs or around P1,534,592 as of writing. Her video was acquired by the Baloise Group and was donated to two museums in Europe – the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the MUDAM, Luxembourg.
Aside from Atienza, Sam Pulitzer of the United States also won the Baloise Art Prize.
He was recognized “for the precision, depth and virtuosity of the drawings presented in his installation for the exhibition booth, where he adroitly exploits transparency and opacity in order to test the viability of his art,” the Baloise Group said.