Vietnamese artists immerse with cultural bearers in Antique

Two artists from Vietnam found an opportunity to immerse with cultural bearers in Antique as a preliminary event of the 17th Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (VIVA ExCon) that will be hosted by the province for the first time on Nov. 8-10. International artists Thao-Linh Dinh and Kieu-Anh Nguyen of the Ba-Bau, a group of curators, producers, and artists based in Hanoi, joined the event as part of their Artists-in-Residence Asia (AIR Asia) cross-residency program to gather first-hand information and empirical knowledge on ways to engage rural communities through meaningful artist residency. They immediately engaged with salt producers in Barangay Larioja in Patnongon town, the blacksmith community in Barangay Odiong, and local potters in Barangay Bari, both in Sibalom town upon their arrival in Antique in the first week of October. 'We are thankful that we were able to immerse with the communities and learn the processes (of salt-making, pottery, and blacksmithing),' Thao-Linh said in an interview. She said they experienced for the first time making clay pots using an open fire with rice husk as fuel. In Vietnam, pottery makers are already using kilns. Kieu-Anh marveled at how the coastal community of Antique prepares salt. 'To create a block of salt is interesting and an artwork itself,' she said. Salt producer Caliboy Cajurao, whose family has been into the traditional open-pan salt production, briefed them on how to sun-dry seawater to produce salt. Nelson Roldan, one of the founders of Viva ExCon, said immersion is essential because, through this, they would know what they could contribute to the preservation, empowerment, and celebration of cultural bearers. Through the Viva ExCon, artists gather every two years to update, learn, and share their experiences on their art processes and community involvement. This year's gathering is anchored on the theme 'Suba sa Iraya,' meaning swimming upstream, Viva ExCon Festival Director Bryan Liao said.

Source: Philippines News Agency