25 September 2008

Art Exhibit: Ann Wizer


Galleria Duemila

Ann Wizer was born in 1952 in Seattle, Washington but has called Asia her home for over two decades having lived in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia. She is a visual artist- having worked with painting, installations, theater collaborations and sculpture; and an environmentalist who utilizes post-consumer waste as a material to address environmental damage and issues.

Her use of waste or garbage wasn’t intentional at first. She has always worked with debris- found objects- first from nature then later on from industry. She would ask restaurants in Japan for the used wooden disposable chopsticks and bamboo skewers. Eventually her art evolved and she decided to mainly used garbage in her creations. By the mid-90’s her art had developed into environmental activism, fusing irony into her pieces to spotlight the careless disregard of big industries with their waste management, or what she calls CSI: Corporate Social Irresponsibility; as well as find simple solutions for the people who live with the garbage our societies produce as a means of income. Her art practice is focused on environmental damage and creating compassion and livelihood for those living in poverty.

“I work with garbage. Why? Because there is so much of it. When you really think about it, why are we making anything that just gets thrown away?” -Ann Wizer

In Jakarta, working with trash-pickers, Wizer has developed the XS Project which has the trash-pickers washing, drying and cleaning garbage, cutting them up and making products with them to be sold by distributers therefore giving these people much-needed income. Again, irony comes into play: the very companies whose trash she was using to make bags and other products that she approached for help and denied her later on utilized the ideas of her products with the trash-pickers as corporate give-aways.

The exhibit “Invisible” is sort of a continuation of the Living on Loring exhibit (which Ann Wizer did with Romina Diaz at Galleria Duemila and Museo Pambata earlier this year), and an off-shoot of her XS Project in Jakarta: but this time she will be working closely with women. Mothers, grandmothers…unemployed women who exist below the poverty line who are bogged down with children/multiple dependents that they cannot leave. The “invisible” ones, meaning forgotten, unseen, undocumented. The forgotten ones. The materials she’s looking into for this project also is called “Invisible waste”—trash that we don’t always see as it goes straight from factories into rivers or resellers/recycling sites. She is focused on making not just a statement, but a sustainable co-op that will enable these women to use traditional skills such as sewing and crocheting to make a living within their homes.

Gallery B of Galleria Duemila shall be transformed into the “Executive Lounge” showcasing furniture pieces with exaggerated dimensions in line with the irony that is present in Ann’s pieces. The furniture is stuffed with shredded cleaned garbage and represents the “powers that be” from big corporations to governments who just aren’t addressing these environmental issues. Gallery A shall exhibit the works that Ann and the women from the “Invisible” project come up with after the series of workshops that Ann shall hold.

The Invisible Sisters Co-op is another attempt to build something sustainable for Filipino women- specifically mothers and grandmother. With the skill of croquet and by utilizing the endless source of plastic bags, hopefully they can build additional incomes.

“Invisible” will open 3 October, Friday. Show runs until 31st October 2008.