Yuan Mor'O Ocampo

<strong>Yuan Mor’O Ocampo
</strong><br/> Born 1957, Manila, the Philippines; resides and works in Santiago City, the Philippines <br/><i>Mutya ng Pasig (Goddess of the River)</i> 1997, Lithograph, Edition 1/4, State III/III <br/>Printer/Collaborator: Jan Hogan <br/>30 x 29.5cm [image, irreg.]; 56 x 38cm [paper, BFK Rives] <br/>Charles Darwin University Art Collection – NTU477<br/>Gifted by the artist and the NTU Print Workshop, 1997 <br/>Image © the artist
 <br/> Photography: Chris Knight

Yuan Mor’O Ocampo is an internationally recognised multi-media, installation and performance artist, curator, festival/artistic director, and a highly esteemed cultural adviser based in Santiago City in the Philippines. He graduated from the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines and was the first Filipino artist to be awarded a Dharmasiswa Republik Indonesia Scholarship to study mask-making at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design in Indonesia. In 1995, he was artist-in-residence at ARTSPACE in Sydney.

Ocampo established PIPAF (Philippine International Performance Art Festival) in 1999, directing annual PIPAFs since then, and is currently Artistic Director of Ambalatungan Purok One (APO) Artspace, the base for PIPAF and “haven” of Filipino performance art. He is also Curator at Balay na Santiago, a “living museum” and home of the Pattaradday (Unity) Festival in the Cagayan Valley Region. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and is also City Civil Registrar in the Local Government Unit of Santiago City. In 2010, Ocampo received the Dodjie Dy Award for Culture and the Arts as the “Most Outstanding Visual Artist in Isabela, Philippines”. He is a committed believer in performance art as “a catalyst for social change” and communitarian art-making’s ability to affirm cultural identity and instil “a strong sense of belonging”.

In July 1997, Ocampo was invited to participate in The Australasian Print Project at the then Northern Territory University’s NTU Print Workshop (now Northern Editions Printmaking Studio), to work with Workshop Manager Basil Hall and printers Jan Hogan, Leon Stainer and Shaun Poustie. Ocampo was joined by renowned batik artist and painter Ardiyanto Pranata (b.1944, Surabaya, East Java), senior elder of the Galpu clan, expert yidaki (didgeridoo) craftsman and painter, Djalu Gurruwiwi (b.1940) and his artist wife Dhopiya Yunupingu (b.c.1946/50) from Gunyunara, Northeast Arnhem Land, and New Zealand painter Peter Adsett (b.1959), then Darwin-based lecturer at the University. Conceived as a cross-cultural printmaking project and “an exchange of ideas about place”, the universal theme of water was chosen by the artists from inception as echoing existing aspects of their work and “the circumstances of their lives.” Artists were selected for their “receptiveness to cross-cultural experiences and influences”, and whilst each had an established reputation in their chosen medium, all were relative novices to printmaking techniques such as etching, lithography and screenprinting.

Mutya ng Pasig (Goddess of the River) 1997 was one of three lithographs, two etchings and an embossing created by Ocampo as part of the printmaking project. The diagonal cross motif, a recurring formal element in his prints, was a tribute to the late Rover Thomas (Joolama) whose work Ocampo had seen and admired in Sydney. The use of iterative elements and devotional or ritualistic titles for his prints resonated with his existing performance-based practice, imbued with a belief in the connectedness of all human beings and the environment, in a celebration of life. The title of this work also refers to the Filipino kundiman (traditional Tagalong love song or serenade) of the same name and its associated folklore, emanating from Pasig city and its tidal estuary.

An exhibition entitled The Meeting of the Waters: The Australasian Print Project was held at 24HR Art – the NT Centre for Contemporary Art in September 1998, when all the participants returned to Darwin to work on the second stage of their collaborative printmaking endeavour.

Ocampo’s work will feature in the CDU Art Collection’s forthcoming publication, Looking at Art: Charles Darwin University Art Collection.
Anita Angel
Curator, Charles Darwin University Art Collection & Art Gallery
October 2013

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