Thursday, March 26, 2009

THE DOUBLE LIFE ] Christina Dy's split decisions

Page design Neil Agonoy

She used to paint images of naked men on fabric, and very intimate, very sexy, charcoal meditations on a man’s hair. Early last year, she gave up the canvas for a while and took to tights to join a group of pole dancers. Last year, CD travelled to Australia (to create a site-specific drawing in Beyond Frame: Philippine Photomedia at the University of Technology-Sydney Gallery) and was enthralled by the open spaces, parks and beaches possible within an urban sprawl, a huge departure from congested Manila, and the 20-square meter studio where she lives and works.

The day before your opening, you'll be pole-dancing at Capone's. Do you see a connection between your art and the pole-dancing?
Hmmmm. I think pole-dancing took the sex out of my art. I found a release for all my sexual energy! ‘Di ba I used to draw sexy or sex-related things, but now wala na!

The invite doesn't say much about the work apart from the inspiration.
Ok, this is a show of large scale drawings (the largest being 5x12 ft), still using my favorite medium, charcoal on paper. There are a total of eight drawings. I wanted to make more, but hindi na kasya sa walls!

What about Australia had the most impact on you?
I just have to say it again--I love Sydney! I loved everything! The people were all super friendly, especially the bus drivers who helped me manage my way around the city. I loved how people were really laid back--shops close at 5 or 6pm, and people just chill. And weekends were spent at the beach. And there were galleries everywhere that were accessible and free. There were parks and libraries. And enough time to go to all of them, with extra time for working out! I thought that was a pretty cool way of living one's life.

Why were you there and for how long?
I was there for a month upon the invitation of Gina Fairley, who curated a Philippine photography show at the University of Technology Sydney. I was there to draw on the walls of UTS' gallery! Most weekdays I'd draw from 10am to 4pm. The rest of the time is spent just eating!

What's a particular experience/encounter you couldn't forget from your stay?
It's a toss-up between A. watching a play called Yibiyung at the Belvoir. It's about the half-casts (half-white, half-aborigine children) and their journey to find their place in Australian society. I was crying the whole time! It affected me so much! B. riding a ferry from Manly Beach at sunset, and seeing the harbour and the Opera House all lit up at night. It was beautiful. Breathtaking.

What was it like working on this show? Agonizing? Therapeutic?
Oh I love working on shows! Drawing is very addictive, you know! Thank God, I pole-dance every night, or else I wouldn't step out of my studio. I'd probably go crazy from drawing. There's always that point near the end of a drawing when you think you can't draw anymore, but after that point, you feel really, really good and then you draw some more!

You cut hair, and you had a couple of exhibitions with hair as subject. What's with the fascination?
Oh hair is so SEXY! Have you ever tried shaving a man before? That sharp object against his neck. Yummy. Haha! And the way water drips off hair after a shower. As for cutting hair---all my friends wanted to save money so I started cutting their hair! But the hair phase is almost over. I don't cut anyone's hair anymore, including mine. The only hair-related thing that still fascinates me is the Brazilian.

Christina Dy, Between Sea and Sky opens tonight at SLab Gallery in Pasong Tamo Ext. and will run up to May 2, 2009 at SLab. Dy will be giving an artist talk on April 18at 3pm.

Photos on spread: Clockwise from leftmost: Sea 1, 5x10ft, charcoal on paper 2009; "all street corners say "Look right!"; Govinda's for the Ayurvedic buffet; the Belvoir, the stage for Yibiyung; Coogee beach; Bondi on a stormy day, "With marco morales and homeless dude, at this food stall where we ate vegetable pies and had the super yummy Bundaberg Ginger Beer!"

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