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Silverlens Opens in New York with Martha Atienza and Yee I-Lann

ByJenevieve Kok
Silverlens Opens in New York with Martha Atienza and Yee I-Lann

Measuring Project: Chapter 1, digital inkjet pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper by Yee I-Lann, 2021

Silverlens will be opening its new doors at 505 W 24th Street in Chelsea in New York on 8 September 2022! The established Manila-based gallery, known for its robust roster of Asian diaspora artists, is kicking off their opening with inaugural exhibitions by artists Martha Atienza and Yee I-Lann in their new space. 

The trans-continental expansion from Manila to New York marks the beginning of a new chapter in the gallery's eighteen-year existence. The expansion is necessitated by the growth of the gallery's programme, and the drive to bring a broader representation of Southeast Asian, Asia Pacific, and diasporic artists into a wider framework of the contemporary art dialogue. Silverlens plans to activate their New York gallery with gallery-curated and curator-led exhibitions, artist talks, panel discussions, film screenings, and a variety of events.

To commence the gallery's new home, Silverlens will present the first New York solo gallery shows by artists Martha Atienza and Yee I-Lann. These mixed-raced female artists work collaboratively with their island communities and embody the culture and energy that allow art to be made under challenging circumstances. 

Atienza's exhibition will include new video works such as "Tigpanalipod (the Protectors) 11°02'06.4"N 123°36’24.1"E" and "Adlaw sa mga Mananagat Bantayan (Fisherfolks Day)", which were initially developed for the Istanbul Biennale 2022. Her works raise questions about land ownership and class in communities across the Bantayan Islands in the Philippines. In this new body of work for Silverlens New York, Atienza asks important questions: "Who owns the land? Who owns the sea?". These are questions that persistently come to mind when working with communities across the Bantayan group of islands, north of Cebu.

Her works call on the viewer to participate in the act of remembering. Places such as Bantayan Island remind us that the act of remembering is imperative to the continuation of cultural knowledge and being; our connections to places retain memories. Places such as these featured in her work, are repositories of knowledge for oppressed people. Remembering in itself is a way to challenge a system designed to suppress.

Tigpanalipod (1) 11°02’06.4”N 123°36’24.1”E (film still) by Martha Atienza

Yee's exhibition will feature photographic works and woven textile pieces such as a billboard woven by Malaysian and stateless women from the Bajau and Sama Dilaut communities on Omadal Island found on the border between the Sulu and Celebes Seas. Her practice has consistently spoken to urgencies in the contemporary world - from the vantage point from which she hails, mining personal stories, Southeast Asian cultures and histories, local knowledge, critical theory, and mass aesthetics and experience.

Yee sees the woven mat as architectural; it provides a platform that invites communal gathering and activation where everyone sits together on the same level. Throughout the region, all mother tongues have a different name for the mat, but there is nevertheless an unparalleled intimacy in the shared experience of the mat tied to everyday life and ritual. It is local, egalitarian, democratic, and feminist.

About Silverlens 
Through its artist representation, institutional partnerships, art consultancy, and exhibition programming including art fairs and gallery collaborations, Silverlens aims to place its artists within the broader framework of the contemporary art dialogue. Its continuing efforts to transcend borders across art communities in Asia have earned its recognition as one of the leading contemporary art galleries in Southeast Asia. Silverlens was founded in Manila by Isa Lorenzo in 2004, she was joined as co-director by Rachel Rillo in 2007.

About Martha Atienza 
In 2017, Martha Atienza won the Baloise Art Prize in Art Basel for her seminal work Our Islands. Since 2017, her work has been shown and collected worldwide. Prior to this, she was awarded the Ateneo Art Awards in Manila in 2016 and 2012, and the prestigious Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artist Award in 2015. Recent biennials and triennials include the Bangkok Art Biennale: Escape Routes , BACC, Bangkok (2020), Honolulu Biennial: To Make Wrong / Right / Now, Oahu, Hawaii (2019); and the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, QAGOMA, Brisbane (2018). Recent group exhibitions include Breaking Water at Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2022), Animal Kingdom at Âme Nue Artspace, Hamburg (2021). Forthcoming exhibitions in 2022 include the solo exhibition inaugurating Silverlens New York, participation in the Istanbul Biennale, and a group show at the Jameel Art Centre in Dubai.

About Yee I-Lann
Yee I-Lann is one of Southeast Asia’s leading figures in the visual arts, participating in major international exhibitions since the 1990s. Recent exhibitions include Until We Hug Again (CHAT Mill6, Hong Kong) and Borneo Heart (SICC, Kota Kinabalu), Afro-Southeast Asian Affinities during a Cold War (Vargas Museum, Manila), the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (QAGOMA, Brisbane) and the inaugural Indian Ocean Craft Triennial.

Exhibition Dates: 8 September - 5 November 2022
Address: 505 W 24th Street, Chelsea, New York, USA

All images are courtesy of Silverlens

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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