Join us Friday, January 19, 2018 from 6-8PM for the opening reception for In the absence of sight, a solo exhibition featuring the work of Alejandro T. Acierto at (SCENE) Metrospace. Opening Remarks will be offered at 7PM.
In the absence of sight is a new body of work that draws on the erasures of Pilipinx people by American occupiers during the era of US colonialism in the early 1900s. Through an investigation of American archival photographs, postcards, and images housed in various collections in Michigan and Washington DC, this work reimagines erasure as an opening to speculate other forms of presence. While early depictions and characterizations of the Philippines projected a “savage” people “unfit for self-government”, US colonial officers, journalists, and writers used images of Indigenous Pilipinx people as a mechanism of persuasion to justify their sustained occupation to the American public. Though visual abjection often manifested in images of Pilipinx people either dead or in captivity persisting over three decades, this intervention draws on Pilipinx mythology of the Aswang, a shape shifting ghost-like spirit that wreaks havoc on its targets and their communities. In positioning Indigenous and mestizx resistance to US occupation as a metaphorical permutation of the Aswang, this work foregrounds Pilipinx sovereignty as a way to begin to challenge the formations of representation by the American colonial political agenda.
Alejandro T. Acierto is a Michigan State University, Artist-in-Residence: Critical Race Studies. Acierto joins us from Chicago, IL for the 2017-2018 Academic Year. His exhibition is sponsored by the Department of Art, Art History, and Design along with the generous support of others including the College of Arts & Letters, Creating Excellence Funding Program from the Office for Inclusion & Intercultural Initiatives, Office of the Provost, and the MSU Federal Credit Union. Additionally he will be offering a public lecture about his work on February 13 at 6PM in 107 S. Kedzie Hall.