Filipino artist Martha Atienza shines in New York's Times Square 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Filipina artist’s work lights up New York’s Times Square

This moving diorama is screening for three minutes every night before midnight as part of New York’s Midnight Moment
/ 07:45 PM July 08, 2024

Filipina artist’s work lights up New York Times Square

Screencap from silverlensgallery/Instagram

Reimagining the Filipino prusisyon, Filipino artist Martha Atienza presents her take on Philippine society and culture in her moving diorama, now screening on the Times Square billboard.

Atienza’s mesmerizing work, “Our Islands,” is screened on the spectacular digital billboard for three minutes each night for the whole month of July. It tackles social, economic and environmental issues on Bantayan Island in the Visayas. 

“Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E” is part of the Midnight Moment Summer Season by the Time Square Arts — a renowned public platform for visual arts and contemporary performance,” the Times Square Arts  website says.

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“Times Square Arts ensures that only the most captivating art works light up these billboards. “Participating artists are chosen by a selection committee composed of Times Square Arts staff, Times Square billboard operators, and administrators in various creative disciplines, including design, public art, and video art.” 

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Also known as the world’s largest and longest-running digital art exhibition, Midnight Moment Summer transforms the area into an outdoor exhibit showcasing artworks across more than 95 electronic billboards from 11:57 to midnight.

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The underwater scenes 

“Our Islands” is originally a 72-minute film capturing an underwater local procession. 

Represented by Silverlens — a Filipino gallery and landscape for Southeast Asian art in New York — Atienza reinvents the traditional prusisyon by staging it on the ocean floor of the Visayan Sea. 

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The procession features men in the eclectic costumes of significant Filipino personalities, including Manny Pacquiao, Santo Niño, Roman centurions and a nurse escorting a man labeled as a “Yolanda Survivor.”

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Aligning with the artist’s environmental advocacy, the performers are underwater compressor divers from Bantayan Island, Philippines, undertaking this dangerous method of fishing due to environmental degradation — all caused by commercial and illegal fishing, climate change and industrialization.

Interestingly, the coordinates for this dreamlike moving diorama were chosen by the divers taking into account the current, tide and exact time of the day.

“Our Islands” – part of Atienza’s ongoing series to establish art as a source for ideas – is a collaborative effort with the local community.

With Bantayan Island as her home, Atienza co-founded GOODLand — a platform under Art Lab aiming to tackle economic, social and environmental issues in Bantayan Island. 

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Accolades 

“Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E” won the Baloise Art Prize in 2017 and was acquired by the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2021. This masterpiece had been exhibited in Asia, Australia and Europe.

Atienza, who is part Dutch, shines bright on her own with remarkable accolades, including the Ateneo Art Awards (2012, 2016) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Award (2015).

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TAGS: Filipino artists, New York, Trending
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