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The History of Water

  • Start

    16 January 2021
  • End

    14 February 2021
  • Artist

    Joar Songcuya

Three-fourths of the natural world is water, a fact we tend to forget. In his inaugural solo show, Joar Songcuya returns our gaze to this forgotten milieu, disclosing a global history of oceans from the viewpoint of a Filipino mariner. In virtuosic works, Songcuya trains his telescopic eyes on the shapes of water. He reveals sunlight, cloud, fog, and rain—the weather defining maritime life. He also paints the never-ending arrivals and departures of ships, the emergences and disappearances of harbors that Songcuya has seen from ten years of global navigation from the Bay of Biscay to the wide Sargasso Sea. In doing so, Songcuya reveals the world of men at sea: the environment that shapes them and the longings that inspire their days. The pieces in the exhibition are richly atmospheric, the palettes and brushworks evoking a style that Songcuya has mastered idiomatically. Indeed, artists from Botticelli to Rembrandt, Hokusai to Turner, Homer to Sekula, and Hirst to Atienza have created pictures of oceans through the centuries. But not one of them was an actual sailor. Originally trained as a maritime engineer, Songcuya taught himself painting to escape from the engine rooms where he labored. A visual record of our times, the result is a sublime vision whose arrival The History of Water marks.

  • Charlie Samuya Veric, curator