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LIZZA MAY DAVID
The Model Family Award

Mach 22 – April 12, 2008 | Opening Reception March 20

Galerie Metro is very pleased to present “The Model Family Award”, a solo-exhibition with works by Lizza May David.

Exploring the Filipino Diaspora with its many facets and realities is an important aspect of Lizza May David’s work. In her mixed media installations and documentary films she is especially interested in the subtle and undefined spaces between the personal and the political, the private and the public, and the visible and the invisible. (“Looking Inwards”, another work by the artist about this topic can be seen in the exhibition “Global Alien” at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin until April 27.)

In the video exhibited here the artist is dealing with the yearly competition “Model OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) Family of the Year Award”, that is initiated by the Filipino Organization OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) and sponsored by global corporations.

Since the Marcos administration, the so-called (and thought to be temporary) Overseas Employment Program), has been established in order to render the Philippines as post-colonial and developing country competitive in times of global economic liberalism. Today, more than 8 Million Filipinos live and work abroad and largely help stabilizing the Filipino economy and the peso through their remittances (money sent back home). This commodification and export of human labor disrupt families which solely remain intact as imagined entities: “Like the nation, which the scholar Benedict Anderson defined as an ‘imagined community’, the family too, I believe, survives mainly in the imagination of its members.” (Randolf S. David, Nation, Self and Citizenship)

Here it is where the “Model Family Award” comes into play: as this kind of work migration and the existing global power relations are to be kept in place due to economic reasons, this troublesome sociopolitical situation must officially be declared as something positive. Omnipresent in the media, the competition recognizes the hard working Filipinos and their families who are ready to sacrifice. On the other hand it serves as effective and profit-orientated advertising campaign. Successful family relations with a return to traditional and entrepreneurial development are being honored.

Besides a general critique of and the raising of awareness about this sociopolitical situation, Lizza May David is mainly interested in exploring the often ambiguous suggestive power of the visual image and the media as well as their multi-layered functions in relating facts and staging the truth. Where lies the border between reality and imagination, between documentation and fiction? The artist attempts to expose the at times quite dubious role of this apparatus of power with its own means.

Lizza May David was born 1975 in Quezon City on the Philippines, studied Fine Arts at the Ècole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon as well as the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg and Media Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts (UDK) Berlin where she currently lives and works. Her works have been included in numerous exhibitions and film screenings: Global Alien: Congress of Cultures, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin (2008); Sidewalkcinema, Vienna (2007); Im Osten viel Neues, Kino Babylon, Berlin
 (2007); City of Woman, Space Gallery, Bratislava (2007); Permanent Moving, DGB-Haus, Berlin (2006); 
Away from Home, Kunstverein Hof (2005)
; Rituale der Zukunft, Lothringer13, Munich (2004). In 2007 David received grants from NaföG and the DAAD.