Punlaan: Conversations and a Picnic

A Gardens and homestead launch event
starts at 2:00 pm
26 March 2024, Tuesday
Vargas Museum

The UP Vargas Museum invites the public to join us in Punlaan: Conversations and a Picnic, a roundtable discussion and picnic for the launch of the museum’s Gardens and homesteads project on 26 March 2024, Tuesday, at 2:00 pm. Museum curator Tessa Maria Guazon will be joined by artists Nathalie Dagmang, Issay Rodriguez and food justice advocate and farmer Tonio Flores in the discussion. The conversation and picnic will center around the collective practice of gardening and concurrent issues of sharing communal resources. Participants are encouraged to register prior to the event and submit photos of their home gardens regardless of form or scale through bit.ly/UPVMGardens. These photos will be part of the participatory discussion during the event.

Gardens and homesteads: Reflections on a museum’s holdings charts the journey of the Vargas Museum collection from Jorge B. Vargas’s family compound in suburban Mandaluyong to its relocation to a museum inside the University of the Philippines Diliman campus. The project reframes the transfer of objects in a collection through the lenses of property and land. It will serve to reflect on ideas of private ownership and public access. Gardens and homesteads consider notions of habitation enacted through the movement of objects and material culture and how the transfer of seemingly inanimate things is ferried through human exchange and relations. It also places in perspective the continuing relevance of the museum as an institution not only for learning but also for community building, whereby its audiences and viewers are positioned as active agents in the public sphere. The project also announces the Vargas Museum as host institution for the second phase of the Southeast Asia Neighborhoods Network (SEANNET) research project, led in Manila by curator Tessa Maria Guazon with collaborators artists Alma Quinto and Nathalie Dagmang.

The project is part of the initiative of the UP Diliman Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (UPD-OICA) and the UP Diliman Arts and Culture Festival (DACF) 2024 with the theme “Pamamalagi at Pamamahagi.”


About our partner artists

Nathalie Dagmang

Nathalie Dagmang engages the fields of contemporary art and anthropology in her art practice. Through collaborative and artistic research projects, she explores ethical questions about representations of cultures, the nature of community engagement, and forms of social intervention. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in BFA Studio Arts (Major in Sculpture) and is in the final stages of her Masters in Anthropology at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She currently teaches courses on socially-engaged art practice and experimental collaboration at the Department of Fine Arts, Ateneo de Manila University. She was awarded the Fernando Zóbel Prizes for Visual Art (2016) and has participated in exhibitions and artist residencies in the Philippines, Hongkong, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Tonio Flores

Tonio Flores II is a farmer and educator based in the Philippines. He is founder of FarmLab Ecopraxis— a platform committed to co-creating community-led food systems through gardens, natural farms, and food forests. His practice merges agroecology, placemaking, and regenerative design. He is a research fellow on food systems through Critical Pathways at Utrecht University, where he foregrounds a participatory and place-based inquiry on local food systems. In his work, food is the most intimate way we conspire with ecologies, it forms and revises landscapes, territories, bodies, and beliefs. Tonio is an alumnus of the YSEALI Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management at the University of Montana. Nourishment for everyone is the core of his practice.

Issay Rodriguez

Issay Rodriguez explores the intersections of humanism and ecology in her artistic endeavors. She conveys these discoveries using archival material, community engagement, and interdisciplinary collaborations. She holds a degree in BFA Studio Arts (Major in Painting) at the University of the Philippines Diliman and was an exchange student for the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2013. Alongside her artistic pursuits, she actively participates in organizations such as the Philippine Botanical Art Society and the Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society Inc., while juggling roles as an integrative arts consultant and university lecturer.


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