Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House is part of an ongoing collaboration with Urban Theatre Projects to explore how the community practice of bayanihan can be creatively translated and expanded within different community contexts.
The project is grounded on the translation of bayanihan, the traditional practice of community group work in rural Philippines, often represented through the iconic communal lifting and moving of a house. Bayanihan is derived from the root word bayan meaning town, nation, or community. The most recent demonstration of bayanihan manifested during the mass mobilization of Filipino and international volunteers in the aftermath of the super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that devastated the city of Tacloban in 2013.
From the small experiment of carrying a modest temporary shed down Northam Avenue as part of Practice and Participate in 2013, a much larger and more ambitious Bahay Kubo or bamboo hut on stilts was carried on the shoulders of the community during BANKSTOWN:LIVE in 2015, and re-situated at Bondi for Sculpture by the Sea 2015. The house is an evolving structure, suggestive not only of vulnerability to the forces of nature but also human capacity for resilience.
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ALWIN REAMILLO is a visual artist whose participatory ‘social sculptures’ explore themes of colonisation, migration and globalisation. He has presented work in Australia and in the Philippines and has participated in national and international exhibitions, collaboration projects and artists residencies. He is currently represented in a major exhibition called The Roving Eye: Contemporary Southeast Asian Art in Istanbul, and divides time and work between Manila and Perth.
Reamillo’s practice explores ideas of memory, mobility, cross-cultural dialogue/exchange, community collaboration and the experience of moving back and forth between cultures, examining how these interactions can change ways of thinking. Through immersive exploration of intertwined themes of colonisation, migration and globalisation of culture, Reamillo has collaborated with community groups through mobile workshops across regional Australia and overseas, creating a number of participatory ‘social sculptures’ in the form of ‘vehicles/ vessels/-crafts’, in response to local contexts and histories.
Bankstown Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House was one of nine works in BANKSTOWN:LIVE, part of Sydney Festival 2015.
Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House was exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea from 22 October to 8 November 2015.