Juni Salvador: ARTSHISTORY

Juni Salvador’s tally marks etched on the mezzanine wall of the gallery is an accounting of the days and years he had been out of country of his birth from 2007 when he and his family migrated to Sydney, Australia.

Exiles, castaways, and captives are often depicted marking their days in such manner, oftentimes as a trope of a slapstick sketch of the existentialist ennui in making a routine out of counting out one’s days. Yet, it is also a primal means of documenting as hunter-gatherer societies had used tallies-marks on bones to record the instances of their clan meetings.

However for Salvador, it is undertaken as a meditative retrospection on the span and reach of his oeuvre for those past years traversing and/or being in-between continents, and oscillating between the demands of fatherhood and domestic life, and his own art practice. He recounts his own art history through the objects that have had also their own history of being transposed from their commonplace domestic environment to their becoming material and medium for his artworks.

Environments, however, multiply as global mobility quickens. As to quote from Gina Fairley’s essay for the exhibit Unbound where the artist was also a part of : “Our world is shrinking and our capacity to bounce between locations has become unbounded. It promotes a hyphenated identity that throws up fresh thoughts on how we define concepts such as assimilation, belonging, memory and movement in our times.”[Unbound, 2013. Curated by Gina Fairley] Art, then becomes a survivalist strategy for Salvador in coping with the shifts and transitions of such a migratory existence, hunting and gathering material from his immediate environs, upcycling the detritus of the quotidian, grafting familiar landscapes and settings unto strange ones, to set-up semblances of home where one seeks places of refuge.

In this way, he also seeks to dig through the archaeology of a personal landscape evolving geologically through time and through the mutable borders of habitation, mining narratives and personal myths that intuit to a living autobiography that is as well Salvador’s own art history.

Salvador took up his art education at both the University of the Philippines in Diliman and Philippine Women’s University, and has worked as an teacher at Maria Montessori Children’s School and at International School-Manila. He had been actively exhibiting in local galleries and museums, continuing on his art practice still after being based in Sydney where he has exhibited as well, with works that respond with the peripatetic practice of a migrant contemporary artist. ARTSHISTORY comes to full circle with the culmination of this chapter in his artistic practice