Hometown: Montalban, Philippines
Lives and Works: Bulacan
At the heart of Rodel Tapaya’s work is his on-going amalgamation of folk narrative and contemporary reality within the framework of memory and history. Utilizing a range of media mainly in painting—from large acrylic on canvasses to an exploration of under-glass painting, traditional crafts, diorama, and drawing— Tapaya filters his observations of the world from existing texts of folktale and pre-colonial historical research to create often a whimsical montage of his characters. Each work has its origin in Tapaya’s own reflection of a particular time or place with an enduring resonance, from its correspondence with the formalistic and psychological implication of the grid in his earlier works – through often protracted ventures to excavate and interpret myth and folk aesthetics. Inherent in the work is the tension and parallelism between the objective investigations of art and the subjectivity of perception and experience, providing his work with an enigma that comes from the impossibility to paint a story and not show the inflections made by the painter’s hand.
Rodel Tapaya is one of the most active artists in Southeast Asia today. He broke out in the art scene by earning the coveted top prize in the Nokia Art Awards competed among artists in the Asia-Pacific region which allowed him to pursue intensive drawing and painting courses at Parsons School of Design in New York and from the University of Helsinki in Finland prior to graduating from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. Works by Tapaya were shown at the 10th Gwangju Biennale 2014.
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