03 SEPTEMBER - 08 OCTOBER 2022
"Fertile land" stems from Dagmang’s fieldwork encounters with urban farmers in the areas of Barangays Tumana, Marikina and Banaba, San Mateo. These riverine communities are situated on the east bank of the Marikina river; the former is the subject of the artist’s long-term research and home to many of her close relatives. The farmers’ resourceful and creative innovations in urban agriculture belie worsening levels of land and food security. The exhibition, consisting of found object installations, video, audio, and found documents, surfaces tensions arising from conflicting notions of development in "tumana"—literally "fertile land." Geographically uninhabitable flood plains where river overflow was once depended upon for irrigation and fertilization, their subsequent lowered property values and proximity to commercial centers attract migrants seeking economic mobility. When the city failed to deliver its promise, migrants found the need to once again grow their own food. In this way, urban agriculture lays bare the residents' frustrations towards their environment and local community.
"Fertile land" is Nathalie's fifth individual exhibition and the first since the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the latest trace from her ongoing participatory ethnographic research project on Barangay Tumana and its riverine milieu. Previous initiations in 2015 and 2019 evoked residents' lives amid hydrologic disasters—both in their direct wake and living alongside their threat.
A free container gardening workshop will be conducted by urban farmers and community leaders from Barangay Tumana and Barangay Banaba during the exhibition duration. More details and pre-registration for limited slots will be announced on the Vargas Museum's social media pages.
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