London, 30 October 2015 – The Philippine Embassy in London reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that Prof. Patrick D. Flores, curator of the Philippine Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, gave a lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London last 29 October.


Prof. Patrick Flores addresses participants of the seminar entitled ‘Present in Venice:
Extensive Philippine Locality in the Contemporary’ at SOAS, University of London
(Photo courtesy of Noel Ed De Leon)


Prof. Flores talked about his concept and strategies for the Philippine Pavilion at the recently concluded Beinnale. He elaborated on the meaning of setting up the country’s first national pavilion at the world’s most prestigious art exhibition in 50 years. He also reflected on the pavilion’s theme which was built around the film Genghis Khan, done in Manila in 1950 by Manuel Conde and Carlos Francisco, the first film on the founder of the largest contiguous empire in history.

Prof. Patrick Flores exchanges pleasantries with Ambassador Enrique Manalo before the start of
the seminar at SOAS, University of London (Photo courtesy of Noel Ed De Leon)


The Filipino art critic and curator also discussed the links between the pavilion’s contemporary art projects and the current global issues, particularly the dispute over the West Philippine Sea. He also noted the significance of “the long arc of cosmology and conquest: Jose Tence Ruiz’s bricologe of a slum fortress, Manny Montelibano’s video of fringes and soundscape of radio and epic, and David Medalla’s flaneuries” in the exhibition. He expounded on the ways the Philippine Pavilion responded to the Biennale’s question on “all the world’s futures” through an “argument of world making from the archipelago”.

Philippine Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo attended the lecture alongside guests from London’s arts and cultural institutions. “The presentation underscored the very rich characteristics of Philippine art traditions and the priceless contributions of Filipino artists and art scholars in the development of this field,” said Ambassador Manalo.

Prof. Flores is a faculty member of the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines, which he chaired from 1997 to 2003, and curator of the Vargas Museum in Manila. He is also an adjunct curator at the National Art Gallery of Singapore.

The seminar was co-organized by Batubalani Art Projects and the SOAS Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), with support from the Philippine Embassy in London. Batubalani was launched in March 2015 by artist Noel Ed De Leon and art historian Eva Bentcheva as a non-profit organization to spread news of key developments in Philippine modern art in the UK. END