DE GUIA, Kawayan; A Chronicle of land and people of the Cordilleras
Kawayan de Guia was raised in the Philippines’s mountainous Cordillera region in Baguio City, an important alternative art centre of the renowned Baguio Arts Guild in the late 1980s. Baguio City, known for its pine trees and houses that cling precariously to hilltops, is a unique melting pot, where ancient cultures, American consumerism and cosmopolitan, European influences coexist. Many of Baguio’s contradictions are embodied in de Guia’s versatile practice, in particular, his ‘wallbound’ works that are assemblages of painting, drawing and found objects. The artist describes his working process as a form of appropriation, starting with a found image and building a narrative by incorporating other materials, images and techniques until a story emerges. The loosely gridded flat surfaces are inspired by the indigenous Cordilleran practice of saving elements from rituals in compartmentalised boxes. De Guia’s objects, however, are not ritualistic; rather, they are found, adapted and personal artefacts, often with collective significance. His works address the histories of occupation, trade and exchange that have influenced Philippine history and culture.