Coming up with ideas for Post Medium.

Inspired by the traditional Filipino mat called a banig.

Banig is a traditional Filipino handwoven mat normally used for sleeping or sitting on. It is not a textile. (It is not made of cloth.) . The banig is made of from dried leaves that are sometimes dyed before being cut into strips and woven into a mat. The most common type of leaves used is buri. In the Visayan region, it’s often from a reed called tikog.

 traditional banig

traditional banig

 traditional banig

traditional banig

Why the banig?

Thinking about post medium I wanted to incorporate something from my background.  I remember growing up my mum would always be making these traditional mats.  I want to experiment with weaving a painting into this traditional mat.

 Experimenting with paper creating banig

Experimenting with paper creating banig

 Started cutting up an old painting

Started cutting up an old painting

 Experimenting with creating a banig with an old painting.

Experimenting with creating a banig with an old painting.

 experimenting with different weaving pattern. This uses a more traditional diagonal weave.

experimenting with different weaving pattern. This uses a more traditional diagonal weave.

With this idea in mind, I'm pretty happy with how the painting turned out once it was weaved.  Now I started to think about more meaning behind the piece.  Since this is a very traditional Filipino mat, I wanted to look into social issues in the Philippines. 

I started to think about the extreme poverty in the Philippines, not only that I started to think about how fortunate we are in Australia and how we are so lucky to be born in a country so privileged.  I started to think about the concept of how it is by chance we are actually born into Australia, over 3 billion people actually live on less than $2.50/day.  So I wanted to experiment with a piece that represents poverty in the Philippines on one side and on the other side emphasises how fortunate we are.

I started to look at the slums in the Philippines which would be the main inspiration for one side of the canvas.

I came across the slum called Happy Land.  There is a great article on Medium that talks about this slum: https://medium.com/@edward2959/manilas-happyland-no-place-for-happiness-9246719f7146 

Here are a few key points from the article:

  • The biggest problems facing Filipinos remains poverty and homelessness in Manila’s vast slums

  • You only have to drive a few kilometres outside the thriving Manila metropolis to suburban Tondo to be struck by the sheer hopelessness facing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos.

  • a short drive outside from Manila’s city is the slum area of Tondo where more than 600,000 people live in poverty.

  • The worst of the conditions can be found at Tondo’s ‘Happyland’ BRGY105 where the population has grown from around 3500 in in 2006 to more than 12,000 today.

  • Happyland is literally built around a dump, or many dumps where people daily wade through rubbish looking for anything of value. 

  • Tons of chicken scraps are collected from takeaways garbage bins then recycled by boiling. It’s called ‘pagpag’ and sold to hungry families in the slums for a few pesos.

Pictures of Happyland

 Experimenting with different material. This is a linen and polyester blend. I've primed half of it to see how it would turn out.

Experimenting with different material. This is a linen and polyester blend. I've primed half of it to see how it would turn out.

 Cut a 3m piece of the linen polyester blend and started priming it.

Cut a 3m piece of the linen polyester blend and started priming it.

IMG_9181.JPG
IMG_2475.JPG
IMG_0860.JPG
IMG_6060.JPG

Waiting for the canvas to dry, so I started to slice up black fabric which will represent the people of happyland.

IMG_8455.JPG

I had the opportunity to visit the Brett Whiteley Studio and Art Gallery of New South Wales during the semester. Here are some of the images of paintings I enjoyed down there: