Marigold Santos

June 20, 2024 to August 24, 2024
Curated by: Lucie Lederhendler
Main Gallery

Marigold Santos

Opening Reception: Thursday June 20th, 7 PM

Lunch & Look Artist Tour: Friday June 21, 11 AM

Exhibition Pamphlet

Marigold Santos

of armour bespoke, of fabric, of skin, of within / binubuo ng pasadyang proteksyon, ng tela, ng balat, at ng kalooban

The recurring motifs of unravelling and dismemberment speak to Marigold Santos’ interest in hybridity and multiplicity of self-hoods, particularly as a diasporic Filipinx-Canadian artist. She is influenced by the woven landscape of her childhood, specifically fans, hats, baskets, and mats made of woven grasses and palms, as well as Piña silk, a traditional fabric made from the labour-intensive harvesting of fibres from pineapple leaves. It is a fabric that is used for formal garments, including the Barong Tagalog, a collared shirt worn by men only for special occasions, and the Terno, a type of Filipiñiana dress, that has evolved in shape and form over time to reflect cultural eras in the Philippines.

A distinct aspect of the Terno is the sleeves of the dress, which are flat, starched, structured, and pleated. This sleeve is recognizable, iconic, and specific to the Philippines. The sleeve style is understood to have emerged from the adaptation of pre-colonial tattoo and garments to Spanish colonization, and subsequent American occupation. Though the form has always been present and important, there is a current resurgence of interest in this style within the diaspora as a way to disassociate it from Marcos-era wealth and oppression, to reclaim it and forge a connection with heritage.

Santos says: “In many ways I view the sleeves as ‘armour,’ a conceptual shield on each arm, which relates to my ideas of skin tattooing and my belief of self-adornment as personal armour chosen and worn by the individuals for themselves. In my tattoo practice, I do not tattoo traditional indigenous designs from the Philippines, but I intentionally acknowledge that inking skin lives in my ancestry and heritage, and as a contemporary tattoo practitioner, it guides me in my choices and my values on decolonization, anti-oppressive, and liberation views in the tattoo industry. The three printed photographs included in this exhibition will feature Filipinx individuals who have consented to be tattooed by myself with this iconic emblem on their arms, along with other images that make up their own sleeve of armour. The act of tattooing kinship is a way of thinking through our history and heritage critically, as we evolve ideas together, and find ways to connect to our shared culture.

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Marigold Santos was born in the Philippines, and immigrated with her family to Canada in 1988. She pursues an interdisciplinary art practice involving drawn, painted, and printed works, sculpture, tattooing, and sound. She holds a BFA from the University of Calgary, and an MFA from Concordia University, Montreal. As a recipient of multiple grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, she continues to exhibit widely across Canada. Her recent solo exhibitions have been shown at Dunlop Gallery, Regina; Montreal, arts interculturels; the RBC New Works Gallery in the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; as well as various artist-run centres and public galleries, including ODD Gallery, Dawson City; ACE Art, Winnipeg; Eastern Edge, St. John’s; Richmond Art Gallery; Galerie Articule, Montreal; and Stride Gallery, Calgary. Her most recent group exhibitions include Patel Gallery, Toronto and FiveMyles, Brooklyn, and a collaboration with Yoko Ono in Water Event as part of the exhibition Growing Freedom at PHI Foundation, Montreal in 2019. She was selected to participate in the Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton in 2017, and is represented by Galerie D’Este in Montreal and Norberg Hall in Calgary. Her works can be found in such collections as Museé National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton. She maintains an active studio practice in Calgary, Alberta.

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