Omehen: The Garden as Chronicle and Strategy of Resistance, 2019-present, audio testimonies and stories from the garden
The project Omehen (which means “harvest” in Manobo Talaingod, the Indigenous language of the Mindanao region in the south of the Philippines) was conceived by Alfred Marasigan, Karl Castro, and Guelan Luarca in collaboration with the Lumad Indigenous community in exile in Manila. Following the bombing of Lumad schools during the ongoing armed conflict in Mindanao, the Lumad people found refuge in various academic institutions in Manila, including the Ateneo de Manila University, where the artists teach.
Harvesting is an integral part of the cosmological practice of the Lumad communities, and therefore fundamental to their systems of education and knowledge sharing. Thus, the artists worked together with members of the Lumad community and students of the University to create a space of harvest within the academic institution and to facilitate the continuation of this practice and the mutual sharing of knowledges. Over the course of a year, the artists, students, and Lumad communities engaged in artistic and agricultural practice together. In response to the ideas of Notes for Tomorrow, the project Omehen was invited to present this ongoing work (presented here as audio testimonies and archival materials), which operates at the intersection of Indigenous knowledges, food security, forms of precarity and labor, and addresses questions that are central to thinking about the worlds to come.
(Conceived in 2019, based in Metro Manila, Philippines) Organized in collaboration with the Lumad Bakwit Schools, Alfred Marasigan, Karl Castro, and Ateneo de Manila University.
Curator : Abhijan Toto
Abhijan Toto is an independent curator and writer, and with Pujita Guha, the co-director of the Forest Curriculum. He has been the Curatorial Assistant to the Artistic Director of the Samdani Art Foundation, and Assistant Curator for the 2018 edition of the Dhaka Art Summit. Previously, he served as the Programs Manager at the Bellas Artes Project, Manila and Project-and-Curatorial Assistant, Council and the Against Nature Journal, Paris, France. He is currently a fellow of the Forecast Platform at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, and has been a fellow of the Tate Research Centre: Asia, at the MMCA, Seoul and researcher-inresidence at the HSLU-University of Applied Arts and Sciences, Luzern Switzerland and at the Tentacles Art Gallery in Bangkok. He is a member of the Chareon Contemporaries collective, based in Bangkok. Selected exhibitions include Occupy Exhaustion (Haus der Welt, Berlin, 2018); Postscripts, Bangkok Biennial (with the Chareon Contemporaries Collective) (2018); History Zero (Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai, 2017) and is participating in the School of Storytellers, part of Ghost:2561, with the Forest Curriculum, and Southern Constellations, Moderna Galleria, Ljubljana (Contributing Curator, 2019).