Indigenization and the Dreamland: Jevijoe Vitug in conversation with Museum Educator Francis Estrada
August 20th, 7pm EST
Via Zoom - link sent upon Registration
This is event is part of the virtual exhibition #indigenizemememoji.2020 – New Works by Jevijoe Vitug
View all the works at fluxfactory.org/event/indigenize
Combining satirical humor with socio-political and cultural concerns, #indigenizemememoji.2020 reimagines history painting through the lens of memes and emojis, encoded with an indigenous presence. Layering graphics referencing the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide protests against systemic racism, each painting amplifies this historic moment as translated through digital culture.
This new body of work is composed of 13 paintings, in which Vitug continues his painting technique titled “pintados,” painterly brushstrokes that have nuances of indigenous mark making. Similar to digital pixel units, these marks become codes to forming imagery invisible at a first glance. Working in oil paint, acrylic, airbrush and water based UV-fluorescent paint overlapping one another, the artist uses a diversity of painting media.
A repeated motif in the works are brands around which viral memes were made during the pandemic, such as Corona beer, Purell hand sanitizer and Clorox bleach. The painting Queen Bey’s Purell Meme (2020) is based on a meme by Saint Hoax in which Beyonce holds Purell bottles, while emoji hands reach out for the sanitizers. This work, part of a diptych, sits next to This is……Why (2020) which appropriates a meme posted by NBA star LeBron James showing a police officer’s knee on George Floyd’s neck, next to a former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of police brutality. Both rendered using marking details similar to the tattoos of indigenous warriors in the Philippines, depicted in the Boxer Codex manuscript (1590). Vitug combines a diversity of technique and reference to draw attention to the complex and interdependent forces impacting this social moment.
Over the prolonged period of lockdown, Vitug has continued painting in his studio as a coping strategy and to reflect on his experience living in Queens, NY, the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak that has disproportionately impacted immigrants of color. He uses coded humor, layered with straightforward messages and hidden meanings to make visible his pre-colonial/ indigenous heritage, and his continuing quest for decolonization.
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