Mabini Projects

Cumulus Blimp:
A Transnational Platform of Discourse

Friday, October 20, 2017, 6 pm

October 20 to November 17, 2017

LJ Ablola & Naoki Tomita


1335MABINI, Manila, 20 November 2017


The streets of Manila (or streets in any other city): attempt to step twice into the same street, you can’t: you will have changed, the street will most definitely have changed. In a blink of an eye (or, to not favor the ocular, in a hurried sigh), the seemingly same has always already altered into difference.

The street and its fleeting array of smells, sights and sounds. The 5am street is a different street from the 3.13pm street and from the 4.21pm or 9.52pm or 1.38am streets. Buses pass by. Security guards fall asleep. Kids scream for ice-cream. A claxon warns you. Rain drops cats and dogs. A man on the corner offers Rolex’s and iPhones, Armani and Hugo. A dude gives you the creeps. A voice on the phone. A faint sound from the left. A band playing ‘happy birthday’. An odor coming out of a pothole. Citations from the holy book surround you. A taxi stops, a queen steps out.

And artists LJ Ablola and Naoki Tomita attempt to make sense out of the beautiful mess we are in (and which we do create) day and night. In their idiosyncratic ways, the two painters attempt to slow the city down one stroke, one cut, one layer at a time to see, to show us and make us feel the essential in the trivial and futile. The city of everyday life: we are so habituated to it that we do not notice it, let alone question it or our part in it. And in a dialog of sorts, LJ Ablola and Naoki Tomita show different bits and pieces of our city by paying close attention to minute details which, in turn, is reflected in how they work (a work of laborious love so to speak): an intricate layering of imagery.

Words by Roy Voragen