Martha Atienza / The Philippines/The Netherlands b.1981 / Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N123°45’07.0”E (still) 2017 / Single-channel HD video, 72 minutes ,colour / © The artist / Image courtesy: The artist and Silverlens Galleries, the Philippines

Martha Atienza
Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E 2017

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 1.3

Martha Atienza’s video work in APT9, Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E 2017 recreates an annual event in the artist’s hometown. For the Ati-Atihan festival in Madridejos, the men wear elaborate and often humorous costumes, which they create themselves and change every year in response to current events. Atienza and the actors spent months practising and planning the filming of the underwater parade, in which some of the men float past the cameras gracefully, while others trample the dying coral. Projected onto plexiglass, the work immerses the viewer in a silent and mesmerising experience where the subjects appear to exist in real time on the other side of the screen.

Born into a family of seafarers, Martha Atienza creates video, sound and installation works that explore the experience of being at sea, and address histories of migration, labour, environmental degradation and identity. Atienza works with the people of Madridejos on Bantayan Island, where her family is from, to address the issues faced by this small fishing community — poverty, environmental change, and the long absences of family members who make their living at sea. Atienza’s work highlights common issues for the people of the Philippine archipelago.

Contemporary context

How does Martha Atienza:

  • use materials, technologies or approaches to affect the audience experience?
  • provoke discussion about twenty-first-century issues and concerns?

Personal context

How does Martha Atienza:

  • communicate influences on her life and experiences?
  • generate ideas from her own experiences, imagination or memories?
  • create sensory experiences to generate emotional responses from the viewer?

Cultural context

How does Martha Atienza:

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to cultural influences?

Formal context

How does Martha Atienza:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?

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