“Fragmentary Conversations”: Henrielle Pagkaliwangan at the BenCab Museum


Baguio, Philippines–Henrielle Pagkaliwangan’s exhibition, “Fragmentary Conversations,” at the BenCab Museum, takes off from the collection of the museum, specifically its notable array of bulul artifacts. The bulul has been used to singularly represent the rich fabric of Cordillera life and its diverse material culture. Brought to an almost iconic stature, it continues to be an object-image fraught with paradoxes, reinterpretations, and mis-interpretations, especially in its contemporary form as that of a shape-shifter, as a postmodern apparition.

Instead, the show aims at a reversal of the trend, a deviation from the current trajectory of the object-image’s cultural representation despite the futility of such an endeavor or the seeming paradox of undertaking such via another artistic depiction. Origins must continue to hold sway after all. And the stories of the mumbaki, carvers, and farmers from the Cordillera must figure in the continued accrual of meaning of the bulul in popular and artistic expressions.

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