Category Archives: My Art

Horror Vacui

How would you feel about inhabiting the empty spaces in your life? 

I am far from being religious, but the Jesuits have a soft spot in my heart. And this, this speaks to me. 

I struggled with Horror Vacui in 2016 and I have been wanting to face this issue head-on this year. There’s just too much running around, too much fire and air, too much static, to many to-do lists. I need my quiet time, to inhabit my empty spaces again to find my voice, to just be

Happy Easter, friends. 

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rePORTS at 98B


“rePORTS is a mode under the “TALKS” program of 98B. It features local artist presentations of their trips, residencies or conferences outside of the country. It aims to provide a platform where artists who have gone overseas can impart to the local art community the process they went through before, during and after these trips, and more significantly, their experiences and learnings.”

Reposting from 98B’s FB page. See you on Saturday! 

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Lord of (the F)lies

“Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.” (Lord of the Flies)


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The 2016 London Biennale Manila Pollination



I have been busy for the last couple of months working on this project with my fellow visual artist, Josephine Turalba. The 2016LBMP is an artist-initiated event comprised of a series of exhibitions, performances, symposiums, and workshop that will take place in several locations in Manila, Philippines on 14-18 September 2016 and participated by approximately 80 Filipino and 20 international artists.

The 2016LBMP is an extension of the 2016 London Biennale. It was founded in 1998 by world renowned Filipino artist David Medalla, who is currently short-listed for the Hepworth Prize for Contemporary British Sculpture 2016, and Adam Nankervis, inter-nation coordinator of the biennale. Since then, it has seeded artist-initiated hubs worldwide. There will be various exhibitions and live events in different venues in Rome throughout the month of May 2016, as well as in London, England in June, and other pollinations in places, such as Las Vegas and Paris.

LB David Medalla


The 2016LBMP is also a satellite space for interactions with other cultures and plays host to a video exchange program with the Transart Triennale in Berlin this August 2016.

The 2016 London Biennale MANILA Pollination kicks off in Escolta. It will be hosted by 98B COLLABoratory (98B) in cooperation with its immediate community in Escolta. Day 2 will be at the Metropolitan Theater, Padre Burgos Avenue corner Arroceros Street, Manila. An exhibition of installations will be curated by Tin-Aw Gallery.  The last day will be at the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas (Folk Arts Theatre), CCP Complex, with activities hosted by the Philippine Association of Printmakers (PAP).

Please check out our Facebook page and Instagram account for updates.

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Handmade Reboot



Works by Steph Palallos and Josephine Turalba

9 – 23 Nov 2015 

Steph Palallos and Josephine Turalba emphasize the handmade and express personal experience in their upcoming exhibition at Tin-aw Art Gallery.

Palallos evokes the vulnerability of the human body by sewing vestments that may be very difficult if not impossible to wear. Made of transparent fabric, her garments avoid the idea of clothing as an object to cloak nakedness, as a means to embellish the human form, or a medium to express desire.  Their construction overturns aspects of functionality and fashion in favor of revealing a real but invisible illness that is part of her quotidian identity. The symbolic clothes, all thirty-one of them – one for each day of the month, uncover afflictions that many of us do not want to know let alone see in bodies, including our own.

Turalba uses the techniques and materials of leatherwork: studs, rivets, grommets, eyelets, stitchery to lock together images to place and time. Shapes of multi-colored leather, which is metonymic and celebratory of racial difference, form the imagery. The ideas of looking in fragments and capturing transient spaces conceptually frame her work, which is comprised of nine panels that may be grouped as one or as individual pieces, variable to its site. Sourced and inspired from her travels to the non-West, she materializes episodic memory formation into a cornucopia of conjoined images that interlock the formats of landscape, tapestry and collage all at once.

“Handmade” opens on 9 November, Monday, 6 pm at Tin-aw Art Gallery located on the upper ground floor of the Somerset Olympia Building on Makati Ave. Makati City. The exhibition runs from 9 – 23 November 2015.

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Upside down. Peel.

“The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.” 

–Neil Gaiman, American Gods

I had to unpack some of the garments from my Peel installation yesterday and I was hit by a sudden wave of nostalgia. After residing at the Little Theater Lobby for about a month, they smelled musty and old, enveloped in the aroma of worn wood and of art; they smelled strongly of the CCP.

The scent of my work took me back to the Cultural Center of my youth, a place simmering with beaming hope and wild expectations. For a time during the early 90s, I used to hang out in its hallowed halls. I joined a summer art workshop and bonded with my classmates and the organizers. We even formed a group—The XXI Strokes—and had a show called “First” (and last!!! Hah!) at a reputable gallery Manila after.

That was a passionate juncture in my life—for the first time I let myself believe that I could create art. Funny how I don’t remember the names of my fellow artists or the things that we did, but I recall snippets of our stint there: I see my hands cutting a design on a rubber mat for the first time, I am observing the underside of work tables as I try to take a nap on the floor, I catch beams of light as we go ghost hunting after dark, and I am sitting in awe, communing with the works of Luz and Ocampo. I don’t remember much, but I am certain that that mildewed and stale odor accompanied me like an old friend everywhere. It was not imposing or bothersome, mind you. But it was comforting, comfortable, and ever present.

My old friend greeted me at the door the first time we had our meeting at the CCP. In my excitement over the upcoming show, I failed to acknowledge his presence. I knew that he was there with me during the days of our setup, up to the days when I would introduce Peel to my friends. He was the steady hand that guided me through my artist talk and he sat quietly with me as I said goodbye to the empty space.

I was taken aback when the scent emerged as I unpacked my pieces. It was the CCP of my youth, yes, but the wiff of sawdust has altered it. I clung to the fabric and drew in the new mix. I have come full circle, that’s what it said. My previous hopes and expectations were now realized dreams and memories. That old friend served its purpose and is gone. This new one promises a fresh chapter imprinted with untrodden visions.

With all souls’ day fast approaching, I’m taking the time to honor my old friend. I was apprehensive about the future, of what comes next, but this little haunting reminded me that all was well. It made me look back and see how the dots I’ve planted even back then have all connected and are pointing me to the future. So, thank you, dear friend. Thank you.


Sleeve. Peel.

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HANDMADE: Steph Palallos


Sirens, 2008 (Photo by Tiffany Urrutia)

Before our exhibit ends on the 18th, allow me to talk a little bit about myself and my work.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Ateneo de Manila University. I studied Applied Creativity (in Education and Art) at the University of Santiago del Compostela, Spain. I moved to Barcelona in 2003 and studied Contemporary Visual Arts Practices at METÁFORA-University of Barcelona.


Zen Garden, 2003

When I started making sculptures in 2003, my work centered on my personal narrative: moving to a different country and struggling with an invisible illness made me feel disjointed and fragmented. In my attempt to reconstruct and fabricate a new identity, I tried to build on pieces of my body.


Untitled Triptych, 2003

I have been back in Manila for ten years. I took a brief hiatus from sculpting about 5 years ago and now I find myself going back to where I left off, but this time around I want to use softer materials—fabric—to tell my story. The years have changed my narrative, but some themes remain. My pieces are still self portraits; they center on my embodied identity with missing pieces and fragile, incongruous parts. I still fabricate subtle and quiet images that trigger memories and emotions, focusing on loneliness, loss, and isolation. With the use of translucent materials, I also explore the idea of fragility and lightness, of wanting to be transparent, wanting to disappear.


From the Untitled Triptych, 2003


Peel, 2015. Photo by Giovanni D. Co

To see more of my work, please visit my website.

HANDMADE exhibit is open for viewing at the CCP until this Sunday, 18 October 2015.

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HANDMADE: Carmel Lim-Torres


Unapologetically Soft, 2008

Carmel Lim-Torres, Josephine Turalba, and I are gearing up for our Artists’ Talk and Finissage of our HANDMADE exhibition at the CCP’s Bulwagang Carlos V. Francisco (Little Theater Lobby) on the 15th of October. Before our show ends on the 18th, I want to talk about the individual artists in the exhibit, so you can see a glimpse of their body of work.

Carmel, Steph, Josephine. We are all women sculptors and educators. We met at graduate school while working on our Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. For some reason or another, none of us completed the program at that institution—Jing finished hers in Austria, Carmel pursued other studies, and I focused on my Spanish projects—but we kept in touch and our friendship grew through the years. Last year, we decided to finally have a show together.

HANDMADE: Carmel Lim-Torres


Unapologetically Soft: Big Green, 2008

From her bio:

“Sculptor, teacher, and mountaineer, Carmel Lim-Torres explores the limits of ceramics and other materials to express the limitless expanse of the natural world. Lim-Torres draws inspiration from her adventures as a mountaineer who witnessed the peaks of Mt. Apo, Mt. Iraya, Mt. Amuyao, Mt. Batur and Mt. Kilimanjaro, to create her multimedia installations. Wanting to share the peace and tranquility with those around her, she decided to marry the natural lines of nature with the rigidity of ceramics and wood. “I wanted to capture the fluid lines and forms onto permanent materials; the momentary made still” Lim explains. “I love texture and am drawn into the details of leaves, trees, beauty….”

Lim-Torres has a Fine Arts Sculpture degree from the University of the Philippines and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Buffalo. She currently teaches Visual Arts at the International School Manila. She has now settled in Manila with husband Robert (Bojo) Torres.”

To see more of Carmel’s work, you may get in touch with her via email at


Hope, 2015


Hope, 2015

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HANDMADE Finissage


HANDMADE Finissage
15 October 2015
Bulwagang Carlos V. Francisco (Little Theater Lobby)

Artists’ Talk 4pm
Cocktails 6pm

For their exhibition finissage, the artists of HANDMADE will have a special artist talk and closing cocktails on 15 October 2015. It will begin with an introduction by exhibit curator Leo Abaya, which will be followed by the artist talks of Josephine Turalba, Steph Palallos, and Carmel Lim-Torres.

In their exhibit, Palallos, Lim-Torres, and Turalba create diverse art highlighting the Handmade. They express personal experience rather than give voice to a collective social message. Consider Turalba’s leatherwork as a means to re-imagine landscapes from memory, or Palallos’ sewing fabric to construct garments that expose the ailing body, or Lim-Torres’ embroidery applied to paper, ceramics and wood to express hope amidst ecological peril.

Handmade is on view until 18 October 2015. Viewing hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm. The exhibition is supported by Active Group Incorporated, Pepi Cubano, Tacos Chingones, and Delbros Group. Photo is courtesy of Giovanni D. Co.

For more information, call the CCP Visual Arts & Museum Division, Production & Exhibition Department at (632) 832-1125 loc. 1504/1505, (632) 832-3702, mobile (63920) 4700690, email or visit

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Made by Hand


“The use of craft in contemporary art means a dedication to materials and processes, though not entirely as a path to perfection and polish. On the contrary, the craft approach shuns aesthetic perfection as a reaction to the omnipresence of technology in everyday life, including art production. 

In this exhibition, Carmel Lim-Torres, Steph Palallos, and Josephine Turalba create diverse art foregrounding the handmade. They express personal experience rather than a collective social message. Consider leatherwork as a means to re-imagine views from place memory, or sewing to construct garments that expose the ailing body, or cutwork applied to paper, ceramics and wood to express hope amidst ecological peril.


Palallos expresses the vulnerability of the human body by sewing vestments that may be very difficult if not impossible to wear. Made of transparent fabric, her garments avoid the idea of clothing as an object to cloak nakedness, as a means to define form, or a medium to express desire.  Her construction overturn aspects of functionality and fashion in favor of revealing a real but invisible illness that is part of her quotidian identity. The symbolic clothes, all thirty-one of them, one for each day of the month, uncover afflictions that many of us do not want to know let alone see in bodies, including our own.”

(Excerpt from “Made by Hand” by Leo Abaya, Curator)

Carmel Lim-Torres, Steph Palallos, Josephine Turalba
16 September – 18 October 2015
Bulwagang Carlos V. Francisco (Little Theater Lobby)
Cultural Center of the Philippines

Curated by Leo Abaya

Viewing hours: 10AM – 6PM
Tuesdays to Sundays

(Photo: detail of “Peel,” Installation by Steph Palallos)

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