Kiri Dalena

Kiri Dalena

Kiri Dalena

Born in Manila, Phillipines, in 1975. Lives and works in Manila and Mindanao, Philippines.

 

 

Kiri Dalena is a visual artist, filmmaker, and human rights activist. She studied human ecology at the University of the Philippines and documentary filmmaking at the Mowelfund Film Institute, Quezon City. Her artistic work is a continuous appeal regarding political misconduct and injustices, and an exploration of traumatic memories from the history of the Philippines.

Dalena´s acclaimed installation Erased Slogans (2008) was a series of manipulated archival photographs showing public protests before the closing down of newspapers during the martial law era under President Ferdinand Marcos (1972-1986). She explained the erasure seen in the installation’s photographs as an allusion to censorship and drew all viewers’ attention to the gesture, face, and body of the protestors.

Later, she continued to work with slogans, collecting them in books. The first of these small, handmade books was Red Book of Slogans (2008), which contains the deleted (and many additional) texts from demonstrations through the 1950s to the First Quarter Storm of 1970 – a period of unrest during the country’s economic crisis – followed by Yellow (2014), Peach (2014), and Black Book of Slogans (2017) containing texts accumulated during historical protest actions under various presidential administrations, from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s to Rodrigo Duterte’s.

Her subsequent installation quoted demonstration slogans from the campaign against election fraud in 2004 known as the Hello Garci scandal. Liar! Liar! Liar! (2010-2015) was an appropriation by Filipino rally participants of the eponymous movie starring Jim Carrey (1997) about a compulsive liar who loses his capacity to lie. In White Walls (2017), Dalena and other artists from the multidisciplinary alliance RESBAK (Respond and Break the Silence Against the Killings) gathered pieces of clear, broken glass from cemeteries and junk shops. The ensuing accumulation of over 6,000 shards of glass, laid out across empty space, was a reference to the continuously growing number of people killed under the current administration’s war on drugs. Each piece stands for someone broken and rendered anonymous in the quick succession of bodies in the streets. Requiem for M (2010) is a video film and memorial to the Maguindanao Massacre, during which a convoy of 58 family members, journalists, and supporters of an opposition candidate for the Maguindanao gubernatorial election were kidnapped and killed. From the Dark Depth (2017), presented for the first time in its entirety on the occasion of the Jakarta Biennale 2017, is a 25-minute film with a unique sensitivity interweaving different layers of reality and depicting the story of a dead communist who joins an underwater world of equality, freedom, and brotherhood.