Santiago Bose’s work at the Asian Art Museum is also a teaching moment for assembling personal narratives.
Artist Santiago Bose addresses themes of colonialism and nationalism in his mixed-media works. InNative Song, he surrounds images of Filippino soldiers from the Phillippine-American War with covers from popular Filipino musical scores. Then, he layers a hand, knife, cross, and symbols and text on the photograph, recalling Spanish colonization.
“Today, Filipino artists are forging a modern mythology. Artists are creating visual statements of Philippine national life with blends of Spanish, American and indigenous artistic infl uences. ‘Western modernism’ has liberated artists to go back to their roots and incorporate them in a contemporary vocabulary. The use of mixed media, fiber, grass, paper, bamboo and organic materials, and the use of installation, which is also rooted in traditional communities, make this art form easily acceptable to a broad range of audiences.
This debunks cultural imperialism. The training of artists in Western modes propagates the use of materials and tools that are expensive and rare. But the contemporary Filipino artist is liberated from paying the West every time he creates. The idea of art as “property” or commodity is challenged, its prominence questioned. The idea of artist as individual creator is also challenged, and a sense of community opens up new possibilities. The artist is taught to be self reliant, and using available materials and local concepts, he expands his visual vocabulary. This makes his art relevant to a broad spectrum of society, making it clear whose interest it serves. Some artists use violence through protest art.”
– Santiago Bose
from Memories of Overdevelopment (ed. Wayne Baerwaldt)