opening, 23 june, 2016, 7 pm
how can a philippine-born man speak so clearly and deeply from within the roma subjectivity? this was the question lingering in the air when we first encountered the poetics of camilo antonio at gallery8, a roma contemporary art space in budapest, in march 2015 at the opening of the roma body politics exhibition. we anticipated a simple speech, but instead, the staff and visitors of gallery8 found themselves in a performance: reciting the beautiful and simultaneously subversive lines of our astonishing guest-poet who taught us how „race” is enacted in the moment of „the gaze” and how spectatorial surveillance complicates social relations that are historically and inextricably woven into the european collective consciousness and cultural ethos.
camilo’s beautiful and sophisticated poetry, with ion neculai’s strikingly apt artwork, inspire our co-activism- our constant going against the grain- that connect us in kinship. we are villagers of the same homeland, the land of outcasts, the out of space, and the „no longer there but not yet here” experience, as he describes it. we are learning to live in and with the myriad of belongings that has become our essence. it is a privilege to bond with him through his verses in disobedient resistance: countering economic hazing, to join his subversive misbehaving that unmasks the institutionalized privileging of class, to smile with him when he exaggerates and twists exoticism into constructive humour, all that, to restore our faith in the community of humanity and the power of simply respecting life with planet earth.
“come, into my semantic spaces, bee-cum my camera: born and bred in the philippines, i let the tao be my guide to cultural imperialisms like sharing my bed with guests and helping refugees from indo-china find jobs in manila.
laughed and cried with mind-transforming hippies from san francisco and austrians in the colorado rockies before marching with civil rights movements in washington, d.c. to end the vietnam war and to make black lives matter.
crossed the atlantic: became more activist with 1968-revolutionary babies in europe but became hungry and was given work to do in the united nations in vienna: to help women and marginalized groups strategize for livelihoods.
left the un to become an eu-citizen by bee-coming an austrian national but found myself facing localized cameras that reveal what papers won’t conceal: “ausländer in looks and speech: no longer there but no go for bee-ing here”.
i believe that i saw the light of day in bucharest scribbling images wherever i could. but I had a regular education trajectory that took me from kindergarten to pursuing a master’s degree in architecture.
in between i tried different pathways: drawing cartoons and winning a prize. an excursion into medical school for a year. then i pondered on going to art school, and finally, i decided to become an architect.
i had practiced intensively as an architect for seven years whilst being a teaching assistant. however, i opted for child education, which i thought was where i would best use the wide range of skills that architecture provides. my social engagement took me to roma partnership projects with the erste stiftung during the last five years. and that was where and how i met camilo whose poetic outbursts resonated with my own artistic sensibilities and challenged me to take my drawings to another level.