GILUBONG ANG AKONG PUSOD SA DAGAT (MY NAVEL IS BURIED IN THE SEA)
Madridejos – August 06, 2011 - This August, the local community of Madridejos, Cebu, will be the center of a five day installation of the experimental documentary film by the Filipino-Dutch artist, Martha Atienza.
In 2006, she received her BFA from the Academy of Visual Arts and Design in The Netherlands. She also participated at the art program at the Kuvataideakatemia in Helsinki, Finland, in 2005. Previously she exhibited video art, often described as snapshots of reality, as part of installations at galleries. Her works have been exhibited internationally from experimental art spaces, galleries to video festivals. In 2009 she joined the ‘Wednesday, I’m in Love’ Residency Program of Green Papaya. In the same year she was nominated for the Ateneo Art Awards. This was her first step to working in the Philippines.
THE LOCATION AND DATES
The film screening and event will be held at the Madridejos National High School and at the Church Plaza in Bantayan Island Cebu. It will happen from the 17th to the 21st of August, 2011.
During the event, the experimental video documentary entitled “Gi Lubong ang Akong Pusod sa Dagat’ (‘My Navel is Buried in the Sea’) will be shown in a five day installation, a dialogue with fishermen, seamen and their families will be conducted, UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) in cooperation with , YAFE Inc. and the YouthXchange will conduct a workshop in support of Gi Lubong ang Akong Pusod sa Dagat and live music by local musicians from Madridejos will be organized.
The experimental art film titled, ‘Gilubong ang Akong Pusod sa Dagat’ (‘My Navel is Buried in the Sea’), follows fragments of the lives of Filipino seafarers as they work on international vessels and get a glimpse of other cultures, local fishermen in Madridejos who carry on a livelihood passed on by previous generations and their respective families who wait for their return and live their lives directly or indirectly impacted by their family members; husbands, fathers, brothers and friends. Furthermore, it examines the relationships and interactions between members of the community and how they are affected by each other. The film attempts to explore the physical and emotional impact of the ocean on their lives.
The film will be screened as an installation consisting of three screens which will show different scenes simultaneously.
The mission is to provide an opportunity for Lawisanon (residents of Madridejos) to communicate their respective concerns about issues relevant to them. This communication will be a result of the exposure to the video installation with mediated group discussions.
Atienza’s quest to tell this story of seafarers, fishermen and community members is deeply rooted. Having a Filipino sea captain as a father, a Dutch mother with strong philanthropist inclinations and growing up in both the Netherlands and the Philippines where she was surrounded by seafarers, it was only a matter of time that this project would come into existence.
She sees a peculiar similarity between all of the Filipino seafarers and her father who himself was a sea captain. She observes that “it seems that once these men come home they do not share many stories. Many things, it seems, get lost in translation and many things are not spoken about.”
By screening the film as an installation on the island where it was filmed, the artist strives to initiate a dialogue within the local community and explore possibilities of viewing issues and stories important to locals in a new light by introducing art as a true emotional outlet and platform, not just for the artist but for the artistic subject as well. When asked to reflect on the desired outcome of the screening she replies by saying that “ultimately, the aim is to raise the viewer’s awareness of the small things that are in fact important and reveal a lot about ourselves and the people surrounding us. The details of our respective lives define us and contribute to our collective reality”.
The filmmaker feels that the local communities portrayed in Gilubong… are linked to the ocean, an ocean that dictates their current economic and social reality. Their lives depend fully on the natural cycle of seasons, the changing tides, the ebb and flow of the ocean´s moods. Atienza has infused this work with her personal take on man´s fragile relationship with the natural world. She asks a silent question: does he control the tides, or do the tides control him?
Aside from the Cebu footage and in order to capture what she calls the “observations of reality,” Martha also filmed in the city of Rotterdam (a hub for the shipping industry), joined seafarers on an international cargo vessel for several weeks and filmed fishermen in Madridejos. The film, currently a work in progress, is funded by the NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts) and the DKC (Dienst, Kunst en Cultuur, Rotterdam) . For the installation, she also partnered with the Office of Culture and Design based in Manila.