March 16, 2023 - Located offsite between Thurlow and Bute along Granville Streets downtown, Dr. Lani Maestro’s installation art, specifically sculpted glass texts and neon light that reads on two columns,
NO PAIN LIKE THIS BODY, NO BODY LIKE THIS PAIN is on exhibit until April 9, 2023. The exhibit, curated by Makiko Hara, was put up by the Vancouver Art Gallery, through the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program and with the sponsorship of Westbank, Peterson Investment Group, and Shangri-La.
Curator Makiko Hara describes Maestro’s art making as the “use of text as a focal point” which Maestro carefully composes vis-à-vis specific architectural spaces. “The text always defies a conventional interpretation, and rather poses a question. She invites the viewer to become part of the work, prompting each person to create a reciprocal relationship. Paradoxical questions and physical, embodied experiences are important features of Maestro’s work, and they are particularly key to the installation at Offsite,” elaborates Hara.
Offsite daytime, Maestro’s sculpt glass and neon capture the stories of Vancouver Downtown Eastside populace’s experiences of poverty and injustice plus Harold Sonny Ladoo’s novel title, No Pain Like This Body– the inspiration behind Maestro’s art.Back in 2010 and 2017, Maestro’s neon light installation onsite allowed the viewers to touch and feel the sculpted ruby-neon-lit glass text.
Lani Maestro, born and raised in the Philippines, completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of the Philippines in the late 1970s. Her artistic residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Alberta, Canada in the 1980senhanced her UP education and colorful learning on the streets. Throughout herstay in the Philippines and in Canada, she explored her art media that cut across colour, country, ethnicity, gender, race. She then earned her Master of Fine Arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1989, andbegan sharing with university students and graduate students at the NSCAD University, the University of Lethbridge, and Concordia University in Quebec her passion for the art that uncovers plots of colonialism and its many countenances. She put up several exhibits, worldwide. The Philippines' Co-Representative to the Venice Biennale, Lani did her countries proud – the countries that mark art as key to honoring and respecting humanity. Her installation art media of kulambo (mosquito net), bamboo, mga bangko (benches), and more, disturb and smash.
Catch Lani Maestro’s installation art exhibit of sculpted ruby red neon-lit glass text, NO PAIN LIKE THIS BODY, NO BODY LIKE THIS PAIN, before April 9th on Granville Street between Shangri-La Hotel and The Keg.
Alumna of the University of the Philippines,Philippine Collegianwriter, and member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines in the early 1980s, MVGC is a freelance journalist