Maps have historically been a technology used for seizing power and taking control of territory. Cian Dayrit speaks of his work as a form of “counter-cartography.” Collages of colonial maps are painted over with pictures that bear witness to the extraction of natural resources, dispossession, and expropriation of land and property. The works are based on cartography workshops given by the artist together with residents from all over the Philippines whose lands, lives and livelihoods have been taken from them. The reworked maps remind us that it was imperialism that laid the foundation for dispossession in the global south, which was a prerequisite of industrialisation in the West. At the same time, they invite us to reflect on the consequences of how we conceive of and visualize our surroundings.
Cian Dayrit (b.1989 in Manila, Philippines) is an artist working in painting, sculpture and installation. Dayrit studied painting at University of the Philippines and won an Ateneo Art Award in 2017. Recent projects and participation include Allegories of Nation-Building at Kaida Gallery, Philippines (2018), the 4th New Museum Triennial: Songs for Sabotage, New York (2018), and Atlas of the Global South at Kaida Gallery, Philippines (2016).
Frontiers of Struggle 04, 05, 08, 09
Acrylic and collage on handmade paper
65.5 x 85.5 x 6 cm
Courtesy the artist and NOME Gallery
Image: Cian Dayrit, Frontiers of Struggle 04, 2019. Photo: Hendrik Zeitler