Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan: at PODO Museum, South Korea

21 Jul 2022

Our world is a history of migration and settlement: the movement of people, whether fleeing for survival, desperately yearning for a better life, or a combination of both. The term ‘diaspora’, is defined as the voluntary or involuntary dispersion of a population from one location to another, does not only refer to the physical relocation of a group but also the parting of their individual identities from their community.

Yet, With Love connects to the theme of ‘Diaspora and All Minority of the World’, focusing families or individuals whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale, pioneering new lives beyond their native hometowns. The exhibition invites viewers to relate to the experiences of diaspora of those who are persecuted in society throughout our past and into the modern day.

PODO MUSEUM has organized the works of seven international artists including Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan to be placed in five thematic spaces throughout the exhibition. Though varied in topic-matter, the spaces resonate together to create a deeper, shared message of widening the concept of ‘society’, relinquishing the lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’. As alluded to in the title Yet, With Love, the exhibition aims to stir the voluntary empathy inside of us to help us realize that we have more in common than our differences.

The Aquilizans emigrated from the Philippines to Australia in 2005 with their five children, carrying their life-long belongings in balikbayan box across continents. The large-scale installation titled Address (2008) consist of balikbayan boxes, stacked in the shape of roofless houses, each densely packed personal possessions. Each cube measures 50 x 50 x 50 cm, the standard size for tax-free packages in the Philippines for sending goods overseas. Their experiences of immigration has had a profound impact on their artistic vision, with works showcasing the intuitive themes of migration, community, association, family, and diaspora and using everyday objects such as cardboard boxes.

Alfredo Aquilizan mentions, “ We’d given each of our children one box, 50 by 50 by 50, to put the things that they want to bring along with them […] The content [inside the boxes] is not significant, but the idea of having the continuous connection with family; I think that’s the significance of this box.”

Yet, With Love runs until 3 July 2023 at PODO Museum, Jeju, South Korea

Image: Installation view of Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, Address, 2022, PODO Museum, Jeju, Korea