An/aesthetic

celebrating my birthday with my brother, sister, mom and family friend

grade school in manila

mom’s archives

mom’s archives

My interest in making things began when

as a child, I spent a lot of time by myself.

I was born in the late 70s in Manila, Philippines. While we were living there, my mother had a busy modelling career.

with my sister at her highschool graduation in cebu

 

 

 

At the age of seven, we moved to Cebu in the Visayas, a little to the south of the country. By that time, my mother’s modelling career had petered out and my stepfather’s career in architecture also went by the wayside. As a result, they had to move to Australia to work. They then sent money home to support us kids.

During these times I would read for three straight days without sleep, much to the annoyance of my older sister and my nanny. We had an odd mixture of books around the house: a set of Children’s Encyclopaedia, two thick tomes of The Webster’s Dictionary, and several thousand copies of my aunt’s romance Mills and Boons collection. All of these I devoured.

The Children’s Encyclopedia in particular had a variety of techniques for art & craft works and I would try to teach myself how to make stuff from following the instructions. The Mills and Boons, I’m still trying to figure out what influence it had on me, if any.

Because I had cousins that were the same age as me and we went to the same school, I often lived at their house. I was often away from my sister, my brother, and our beloved nannies.

My aunt and uncle owned a large steel factory manufacturing alloys for heavy industry. I would watch and sometimes help fill out the pattern boxes to make the cores which formed and moulded the steel.

My parents would from time to time return to the Philippines to be with us, and our family would reform. One time they decided to settle back for good and start a car manufacturing business. It was incredibly stressful. My parents lacked the technical knowledge necessary. For example, during the trial run of the first and only car they built, the engine blew up. It turned out that the wiring was all wrong. The electrician that they hired wasn’t a car electrician at all! He was an electrician that specialized in wiring houses, not cars. When the car business tanked my parents decided to move the whole family to Australia.

We arrived in Sydney in the winter of ‘91. I was eleven by then, and the five of us lived in a very basic one-bedroom apartment in upmarket North Sydney. My mother would walk me every morning to the local public school at Milsons Point, where after six months of being there, I was awarded the School Dux. To this day, I still think it was mainly because I spoke in an odd old-fashioned way. For example, I would say things like “thrice” instead of “three times” which made me sound like a book, instead of a child.

The next several years were a blur to me as we moved from place to place, criss-crossing Sydney. I think we must have moved thirteen times by the time I was sixteen. Throughout this chaotic period, I was drawing and painting; grateful for the meditative peace and quiet it provided, and the kind teachers who provided me with encouragement. I also started listening repetitively to Triphop, to bands like Portishead and Tricky. Again, this was a form of meditation for me.

By the time I was seventeen I had moved out of home, disrupting my final year of schooling. However, I had read somewhere that some of the most interesting people went to art school- my own high school art teacher went to the College of Fine Arts at UNSW. I decided to apply  and was lucky enough to get enough marks to scrape through, despite the chaos of the year past.

The first six months of art school was an introduction to various media – painting & drawing, printmaking, photomedia, time-based art. After exploring these departments, the students are then asked to choose their major. Despite the fact that I was already painting throughout high school, I did an about face; choosing time-based art as a major instead. And so, the next four years was all about video art, experimental films, sound, performance, and installation art.

Maurizio Catellan, the Italian artist, once said “I don’t know what art does for the people who look at it, but it saves the people who make it”. And that’s how I fell into artmaking.

Simala Church

On the way back home from Oslob, we stopped by Simala Church to light candles. I was told it was designed by one of the local nuns. I’ve not seen a church like it before- it’s so big and sprawling and it’s not even finished yet.

I also bought a Santo Nino statue for my mom.

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

 

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

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Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

 

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

Simala Church, Barangay Sibonga

 

The Whale Sharks of Oslob

Whale sharks are considered a threatened species, and it turns out one of the largest populations of Whale Sharks in the world are in the Philippines – with Oslob in Cebu being one of the most famous swim sites. We had to leave the house really early (which was a feat in a large group and Oslob some 3 hours away), as visitors to the Whale Sharks are controlled by the local government; and all the watching and swimming had to cease by midday.

This was at the briefing, before going in:

The Whales Sharks of Oslob

The Whales Sharks of Oslob

 

Hopping on to the motorless bangka (traditional wooden boat):

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

Whales Sharks of Oslob

There’s some protocol.  You’re not allowed to put sunscreen on for example (you can wash it off before going in), which is partly why Craig and I decided to stay on the boat (we had put some on at home), while the rest of our group dived in. We had an underwater camera with us however, which we dangled beneath the surface from the side of the boat.

There are also Marine Biologists on site and small local boats without rotary motors are used (to prevent accidental harm).

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The local name for Whale Sharks is “Butanding”.

x

#EarlMia2014

One of the main reasons for our trip to the Philippines was to attend the wedding of my cousin Earl and his fiancee Mia, especially as my mother was too ill to attend the wedding at the time. We arrived in Cebu from Palawan at lunch time on September 24, with just enough time to drop off our bags and freshen-up for the Soltera that night.

 The wedding, attended by some 420+ guests a few days later on September 27, was an opulent affair designed/organised by Earl’s eldest sister Abigail (who we affectionately call BomBom).

Congratulations to the happy couple! x

Out about before the big night at Pino Restaurant

Not the Soltera – out about before the big night at Pino Restaurant

 

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#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

My glamorous cousin BomBom, informal wedding planner & stylist extraordinaire

The very glamorous BomBom, informal wedding planner & stylist extraordinaire

Earl & Mia  from A City Without Art on Vimeo.

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014 – Chanel w/ her children

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

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#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014

#EarlMia2014 – the brains behind it all 🙂

Suki packing for the Philippines

So we are flying to the Philippines in several hours and staying for 3 weeks!  A cousin of our Creative Director is getting married and we thought we’d throw some island hopping in, while we were at it 🙂 The Philippines is an amazing holiday destination, what with over 7000 beautiful islands to explore and go to. Some of the places we are thinking of, aside from Manila and Cebu (where the wedding will be) are Bohol and Palawan.

Palawan is getting cult status these days for being one of the most beautiful islands in the world (Conde Nast, Huffington Post etc) so we are quite excited. Packing luggage on the other hand, is another thing all together…

Suki

Looking over all the packing that still needs to be done

 

Nope not impressed

Nope not impressed…

 

Hopefully it’s a good flight. See you in the Philippines! Woof! x Suki

*For reviews of Palawan go to: Conde Nast Travellers Readers Choice Award 2014 & this  Write-up by Huffington Post