Press Release
September 5, 2014

Legarda Sees Impressive Philippine Pavilion in Venice Biennale 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said that she is confident the Philippines will have an impressive national pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale come May 9, 2015.

Legarda, principal advocate of the Philippines' participation in the Art Venice Biennale 2015, made the statement as she acknowledged the expertise and experience of the jurors who are involved in the review of the curatorial proposals.

"We have very talented curators and artists in the country, and with the help of our jurors, who are experienced in contemporary art, we are confident we will be able to select the proposal that would be best for the Philippine pavilion," she said.

"I am grateful to our jurors for accepting our invitation to be part of the country's preparation for the Venice Biennale 2015. The fact that they agreed to be part of this process means that they believe in the Filipino talent," Legarda added.

Leading the panel of jurors is the Philippine Art Venice Biennale Commissioner, Felipe M. De Leon, Jr., Chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA); Cid Reyes, one of the country's top art critics and an artist with 17 solo exhibitions to date; Mami Kataoka, chief curator of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan; Paul Pfeiffer, a New York based sculptor, photographer and video artist who already participated in the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001; and Renaud Proch, Executive Director of Independent Curators International, a non-profit organization in New York that has produced exhibitions, events and publications.

Also part of the panel is Legarda, who is the visionary behind the comeback of the Philippines to the Venice Biennale after a 50-year hiatus.

Legarda recalled that the country's participation in the 2015 Venice Biennale was conceived during a Senate hearing on the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the cultural agencies of government, when she asked why other Asian nations are taking part in this prestigious contemporary art exhibition, but not the Philippines.

The Philippines' first national pavilion was in the 32nd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale 1964. Jose Joya and Napoleon Abueva were chosen to represent the country.

Emphasizing the necessity for the Philippines to engage the international community on the cultural level, the Senator convinced the NCCA and the DFA to work on the Philippines' entry to the Art Venice Biennale 2015.

"I know that Filipinos have what it takes to be part once again of the Art Venice Biennale. This will also be a big boost to Philippine contemporary art and will provide our Filipino artists and curators the opportunity to be recognized abroad. Hopefully, our participation in the 2015 Venice Biennale will be the start of our strengthened presence on the international stage," she stressed.

The Art Venice Biennale 2015 will be held in Venice, Italy from May 9 to November 22, 2015.

The Artistic Director for the 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale is Okwui Enwezor, a Nigerian-American who is the current Director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich. He will curate the main exhibition in the central pavilion.

Enwezor has served as Artistic Director for several major exhibitions including the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in South Africa (1996-1998), documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany (1998-2002), the Bienal Internacional de Arte Contempor√°neo de Sevilla in Spain (2005-2007), the 7th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea (2008), and the Triennal d'Art Contemporain of Paris at the Palais de Tokyo (2012).

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