08sep(sep 8)11:00 am05nov(nov 5)6:00 pmMARTHA ATIENZA - ‘THE PROTECTORS’NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES
In this new body of work for Silverlens New York, Atienza asks, ‘Who owns the land? Who owns the sea?’.

Event Details

Martha Atienza – ‘The Protectors’

Silverlens Gallery, New York City, USA

8 September – 5 November 2022

Atienza’s practice explores installation and video as a way of documenting and questioning issues around the environment, community, and development. Her work is mostly constructed in video, of an almost sociological nature, studying her direct environment in the Philippines.

In this new body of work for Silverlens New York, Atienza asks, ‘Who owns the land? Who owns the sea?’. These are questions that persistently come to mind when working with communities across the Bantayan group of islands, north of Cebu.

Under the guise of promised economic prosperity, Bantayan has been subjected to the interests of the tourism industry, landed elites, and the local and provincial government, sitting in stark contrast to idyllic imaginations of island life portrayed in the media, and the arts. Whether it’s a bill removing Bantayan’s Wilderness area, making available privatization of land, the North Cebu Economic Zone, or the push to allow foreigners to have 100% ownership of assets, a neoliberal agenda continues in its coercive ways of dispossession. The island of Mambacayao Dako has been home to fisherfolk for generations, but as tourism is pushed forth, these fisherfolk are forcibly relocated to public and private housing projects thereby losing access to their coastal homes. This rise in tourism and process and dispossession turns the fisherfolk into workers left with little to no choice other than to work for resort owners. Atienza’s work challenges this process of imposition on these island communities and the imaginations that foster it.

Atienza’s work calls on the viewer to participate in the act of remembering. Places such as Bantayan Island remind us that the act of remembering is imperative to the continuation of cultural knowledge and being; our connections to places retain memories. Places such as these featured in her work, are repositories of knowledge for oppressed people. Remembering in itself is a way to challenge a system designed to suppress.

“On Fisherfolks Day, we were all crying. It was raining heavily. They said it was a blessing. Almost fifty boats with fisherfolk organizations and leaders coming together on water. How could they ignore us now?” said Martha Atienza.

Image from Silverlens

Event information from Silverlens



September 8 (Thursday) 11:00 am - November 5 (Saturday) 6:00 pm


New York, USA