Working across painting, installation and sculpture, Kawayan de Guia (b. 1979, Philippines) incorporates an eclectic mix of objects into his wall-based works, which have included Ifugao rice gods, decorative torpedo bombs, and American jukeboxes transformed into Filipino jeepneys. Central to de Guia’s work is the archive – his personal collection of objects, notes and mementoes – relating to localities and specificities of Baguio, and of the Philippines.
His works humorously and piquantly comment on a multitude of issues, from the histories of occupation, trade and exchange that have influenced Filipino history and culture, to the relationships between community and commodities.
De Guia lives and works in Baguio City, a key alternative art centre to Manila, situated in the mountainous region of Cordillera in the northern central part of the island of Luzon. Like his mentors Santiago Bose, Bencab and Robert Villanueva — who were part of the Baguio Arts Guild — he is deeply embedded in Cordilleran culture and interested in the heritage and indigenous cultures of the region. De Guia is also a curator and organiser of activist projects featuring artists of his community, as a longstanding advocate for the arts and cultural scene in Baguio.
De Guia has participated in numerous exhibitions across the Philippines, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, France, amongst others. His recent institutional shows include: the Sharjah Biennale, United Arab Emirates (2019); 9th Asia Pacific Triennale, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery Of Modern Art, Australia (2018); Sunshower: Contemporary Art From Southeast Asia 1980s To Now, Mori Art Museum / The National Art Center Tokyo, Japan (2017); Stones, Souls And Songs, Parasite, Hong Kong (2017); After Utopia, Singapore Art Museum (2015); and Secret Archipelago, Palais De Tokyo, Paris, France (2015). In 2009, he received the prestigious Thirteen Artists Award, from the Cultural Centre of the Philippines. In addition, he has been a multiple winner (2011, 2008) and finalist (2013, 2010) of the Ateneo Art Awards, Philippines; a finalist of the Signature Art Prize, Singapore Art Museum (2011); and currently a finalist of the 2021 Sovereign Asian Art Prize.