These artworks pay homage to Filipino fisherfolk

Published June 12, 2021, 11:15 AM

by John Legaspi

The artist also broken pieces of bangkas from Bohol in his works

“White, Blue, and Black 107” and “Shallow Waters”

For many Filipinos living near the coasts and rivers, water is life. It doesn’t just provide something to replenish their bodily thirst, but it gives them a backbone for a sustainable living. Although local waters overflow with gifts, they are also destructive when disrespected.

That’s the lesson best learned by Filipino fisherfolk while foraging for food in the rivers and oceans. Befriending the natural resource is a must or you end up with a broken boat. That’s where Jürg Casserini got his inspiration for his latest solo exhibit titled “Beauty from the Broken.”

Jürg Casserini

From June 12 to 30, 2021, the mixed media artist presents his Bangka art assemblage and driftwood art pieces at The Artologist Gallery at the Art Plaza Level 4, Main Wing, EDSA Shangri-la Plaza.

The Swiss-born Casserini has been collecting bits and pieces of wooden boats that wash ashore in Bohol. What others might see as trash or even kindling for fire, Casserini sees as elements for his found objects collages.

“Whirlwind” and “Lilac”

“Walking along the beaches, I was touched by the many colorful wooden parts of broken bangkas,” he says. “I started to collect the pieces thinking I could bring the broken bangkas alive again. This way, I create not only beautiful art works but also pay tribute to the Filipino fisherman.”

He cleans them of sand and dirt, allows them to dry naturally, and creates beautiful compositions of art perfect to hang on the wall. Surprisingly, he doesn’t even need to re-paint the scraps of wood. Vivid swathes of color, numbers, and letters remain. The heat of the sun has perfectly preserved them. Other discarded items like a length of nautical rope or a paintbrush sometimes lend texture to some of the pieces.

Casserini, a former diplomat and his wife have fallen in love with the Philippines and have decided to make the country their retirement haven. They spend time between their place in the business district and their leisure apartment in Bohol.

The Artologist Gallery is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Health protocols are strictly observed. For more information, visit its Facebook and Instagram account or send an email to [email protected].