Soft is Strong
By Hannah Nantes, Ikea Rizalon, Julienne Ng, Pat Frades, Sarah Conanan, Shalimar Gonzaga and Shannah Orencio
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We often expect art to be seen on the firm surface of a sheet of canvas or panel of wood, chipped in stone or set against the dominant physical feature of a wall. Our eyes roam on linear realities and sharp edges that serve to box and contain images, visually satisfying us with rigidity yet give uncanny, almost imperceptible inklings of something amiss.
In Soft is Strong, artists were invited to create works depicting gestures of care highlighting softness and fragility— modes of existing that are still often deemed weak by a heteropatriarchal order, and derided as feminine, self-indulgent, or not worthy of emulation.
At a time of ongoing brutality against lives worldwide, staying soft is bound to the necessity of continued demands for the liberation of the oppressed.
The exhibition aims to serve as a reminder that staying soft is an oppositional force to the negative constructions of vulnerability as a sign of weakness. To be soft, to deliberately instil softness, offers a spot of respite and alternative ways of survival, reckoning, and healing.
With works by Hanna Nantes, Ikea Rizalon, Julieanne Ng, Pat Frades, Sarah Conanan, Shalimar Gonzaga, Shannah Orencio. Soft is Strong serves to fill a void rent asunder by razor slashes of violence persisting in the motility of immutable forces governing our lives. Prints and encaustic recount haunting representations, while colorful thread pierces and puts together graphic narratives. Diaphanous pastel layers coexist on the same plane with blooms of mushrooms frozen lovingly from pliable clay. Blueprints serving as guideposts to structures are lovingly broken down and set side by side by whimsical paintings of breathtaking land- and light- scapes. The velvety veneer of petals and dried flowers provide a rich backdrop to the shine of satin ribbons and silken fabric.
Kaye O’Yek, with words by Anjo Bolarda