Over 20 large-scale works by Filipino artist Pacita Abad will be exhibited for the first time at Bristol’s Spike Island Gallery for three months starting 18 January 2020. The featured artworks are some of Abad’s trapunto painting and other works done on fabric which were created by the artist between 1983 and 2003.
Trapunto is a quilting technique that Abad began experimenting with in the late 1970s, where canvasses are padded and stitched before being painted and layered on with printed textiles and other objects, including buttons, sequins and shells.
Born in the Philippines in 1946, Abad studied painting at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and the Arts Student League in New York. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila; National Museum, Jakarta; Hong Kong Arts Centre; The Museum of Philippine Art, Manila; Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila; Bhirasri Museum of Modern Art, Bangkok; Singapore Tyler Print Institute; The National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; and the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, among others. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including: Asia/America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art, a traveling exhibition organized by the Asia Society, New York (1996); Beyond the Border: Art by Recent Immigrants, Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (1994); Olympiad of Art, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul (1988); La Segunda Bienal de la Habana (1986), Havana; and the 2nd Asian Art Show, Fukuoka Art Museum (1985). Her works can be found in the collections of Tate Modern, London; M+ Museum, Hong Kong and the National Gallery of Singapore. She died in Singapore in 2004.
Abad travelled extensively and lived in many different countries throughout her life, including Bangladesh, Sudan, Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States. Her travels, in many ways, defined and shaped her work. The Immigrant Experience series (1991–94), for example, depicts the lives and experiences of the Asian, African and Latin American immigrants that she encountered in the US and elsewhere.