Mga Santong Kanto

Manila, 2014

Conceptual PortraitureAcademic

Mga Santong Kanto

Mga Santong Kanto (The Saints On The Corner) applies a certain tradition of sanctification to unexpected subjects.
The delicacy and refinement associated with sanctification are typically considered more feminine in their essence. Priesthood in Catholicism for example, which is both quintessentially male and holy, necessitates forms of “emasculation”, or dampening of masculine attitudes. Filipino culture, by contrast, associates masculinity with boorishness or toughness. Holiness is a far cry from the “siga” (roughly, “tough guy” or “badass”), or the “manong” (“older brother”).
This body of work aims to expose the implications of these attitudes by subjecting Filipino men to the sanctifying gaze. The images reflect an attempt to consolidate a notion of masculinity that is real, tangible and imperfect with the untouchable beauty and stature of the holy, the feminine. In doing so, the work confronts the practice of idealization, and how its meanings are transformed when imposed on the reality of a familiar face.
Installation view // Platform Events + Co-working Space, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong // February 2015