Arts and Culture
This paper explores how the notion of 'experimentalism' may be understood through the practices of Philippines-born artists David Medalla, Nena Saguil, Ben Cabrera and Jun Terra in the 1960s and 1970s. Working across a range of media - from performance and conceptual art, to abstract painting and installation - what connects these artists is their shared status as Philippine expatriate in the UK and France at the height of the postwar youth and counterculture movements. This paper explores the intersections in their attitudes towards 'experimentalism' through the notion of 'diaspora space'. Originally proposed by cultural anthropologist Avtar Brah, this term describes the flexible, strategic and imaginative ways in which migrants affiliate with the notion of 'home' at given moments in time. It is expanded upon here to discuss how Medalla, Saguil, Cabrera and Terra's practices navigated Euro-American discourses of the avant-garde and growing agitation around ethnicity and identity in Britain and France, all the meanwhile developing artistic personas which could be aligned with emerging notions of 'experimentalism' in Asia.