“Memories of Perception” consists of a hollow-eyed plaster mask on a varnished wooden frame, mounted yet again on a black frame embellished with gold splatters and specks. Flanking the mask are two rectangles of what appears to be handmade paper. Stencilled neon-green leaves punctuate the black background.
This work is certainly not about any rose-colored memories or any form of sentimental nostalgia. Rather, it seems to speak of a more primal memory – one that stretches back across the years to a purer time when man was closer to nature and more in touch with the animal side of himself. There is certainly a kind of no-nonsense physicality about this work with its strong shapes and the earth tones. There is something about it that reminds the viewer of the old pagan festivals, parts of which resurface in celebrations like the Sinulog, the Ati-atihan or indeed, in Davao’s own Kadayawan.
Memory is all about perception, and perception creates the memory. The way one perceives things – the shapes one chooses to see, the words one chooses to filter out of all the sounds that surround a person in everyday life – is key to determining how an event will be remembered. This multi-media artwork addresses cultural memory however, going beyond personal reminiscence to touch on what people remember in their blood and in their bones of a way of life that has all but disappeared in the onslaught of modernity.
“Memories of Perception” and other works by Davao artists may be viewed and bought at Chings Resto-Kaffee in one of the best cheap hotels in Davao City – the Jade Dragon’s Suites. This Davao hotel is notable for its vision that goes beyond sheltering the weary traveller to also inspiring his mind and refreshing his spirit with the best cultural productions of talented local artists.