For the Bayanihan Philippine Art Project, there is a serie of exhibitions, performances, creative writing and community programs in multiple venues across Sydney. It is one of the most significant explorations of Filipino art ever presented in Australia.
Bayanihan is the Filipino tradition of physically moving a bamboo house from one location to another, often as a response to natural calamities. The term has also grown to symbolise a sense of collectivism, often used as a romantic and arguably problematic representation of the Filipino community spirit.
Balik Bayan radiates out of a central work by the artist Alwin Reamillo with the project Bayanihan. The house will undergo further re-construction through public participation at Peacock Gallery in Auburn, and then cross the border between Cumberlandand Blacktown Local Government Areas to launch the Balik Bayan project.
Reamillo’s house is designed around collaboration, constructed through a series of creative workshops. The house has « skin » made up of lanterns, photographs, textiles and a small section that acts as a memorial grotto for local Filipino artist Ed Aragon. At every new iteration the layers accumulate, from the workshop that started with Bankstown Live and Sculpture by the Sea (Sydney Festival 2015) to the launch of the Bayanihan Philippines Art Project at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2016 where Reamillo worked with artist Kassandra Bossel on the bamboo structure for the Art Gallery : each process involved people from Blacktown.
The Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House, originally commissioned by Urban Theatre Projects for Sydney Festival 2015, exemplifies his practice and has an inherent performative ad participatory core.
The Bayanihan Philippine Art Project opened with the Art Gallery of NSW on 24th June 2017, and it will conclude with Balik Bayan will conclude at Blacktown Arts Centre on 2nd November 2017, timed during All Souls Day, a significant date in the Filipino cultural calendar.