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June 14, 2012

Dennis Atienza's Solo Exhibition - Off Load

An overseas worker’s travails begin in the homeland, from when she conjures life in a far-off place to when she finally parts with loved ones.

Like memories of a shapeless dream or ghostly spectre, they accompany the toiling traveller who is in pursuit of a better life.

For some, this vision prevails and life indeed becomes better but for many others, reverie turns into nightmare. In this uncertain plight many are defeated and lost. To leave is to gamble, to voyage is to risk chance.

Dennis Atienza is no stranger to this journey. He dreamt of a better life and risked his chances in a land of scorching heat and biting cold. He chased a dream inherited from his father, himself a contract worker abroad. The artist makes sense of this perilous enterprise in his third solo exhibition. His oil on canvas paintings are of overflowing suitcases filled with objects that appear to have been hurriedly placed inside. He unpacks memories and transforms them into metaphoric images. The objects referencing occupation overseas randomly crowd the nooks of these travel cases.

Luggage is cast symbolically as they refer in turn to occasions of loss and despair, to stories of flight and escape, and the perpetual waiting that punctures the dream of those who risk life overseas. Indeed for the artist, these situations and workers become “cases” themselves, foundering, vague and bleak. In the works, the body that toils is made absent from the frame and thus we imagine them in flight. This is the fate of our countrymen elsewhere, becoming nomadic and nameless. They risk back doors, illegal entry points and endure inhumane work conditions.

Toiling bodies are absent, represented instead by objects sent home. Bereavement welcomes them when instead of objects they are replaced by lifeless bodies. Unwanted legacies, Atienza reminds us of problems within these images are embroiled, the uncertain prospects of home that is nation, a state unable to provide local jobs and decent wage, and the untenable future of an economy kept afloat by remittances. For the artist, the exhibition is occasion for casting off cumbersome weight.

Offload, Dennis Atienza’s third solo exhibition raises these questions leading us to ponder the contradictions that plague us and those who slave elsewhere but who are hailed heroes back home.

Contact Details:
For inquiries, please call (63 2) 892-7522 or email:
Tin-aw Art Gallery
Somerset Olympia Makati

Upper Ground Level, Somerset Olympia Makati
7912 Makati Ave., Urdaneta Village
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

Friday June 15, 2012 - Saturday June 30, 2012

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