Living in the year 2014 it is quite clear that our surrounding and we are characterized by our personal, national, economic and ecological history, however recent or ancient. The concept of migration as an integral part of a national construct has always been challenging with regards to social integration, civil rights and integrity of traditions. From the Migration Period in Europe, to colonization, to globalization - migration is a matter of economic prospects and/or political motives. With regards to the Philippines, the settlements could be traced back more than 30,000 years ago during through archaeological records of Homo sapiens. The transformation of empires, trade routes and progress have since then been influencing the formation of the political and social landscape of the country. In the 13th century, Chinese traders started inhabiting Luzon. Approximately 200 years later, the Spaniards arrived and with them the colonial history of the country.
Dexter Sy, who was born in Manila in 1979, artistically approaches the cultural particularities of being a Chinese-Filipino. The coexistence of two traditional value systems, which are both seemingly equally waning in day-to-day life in the contemporary era, perform as theoretical source for his painting. Abundant allusions to religious, traditional and contemporary matters are to be found in Sy's carefully arranged paintings. Applying iconographic depiction in a classic pictorial composition, the artist emphasizes the cultural patchwork. The works are reminiscent of thoroughly elaborated mind-maps and assembled selective retentions. It is as though the works are subconsciously staged as altarpieces estranged from its reliquary character through the depiction of nonreligious elements, contemporary references and a vibrant, traditional Chinese color palette.
Dexter Sy artistically translates the cloning of morphed cultural representations with stylized, two-dimensional painting.