Pio Abad: Fear of Freedom Makes Us See Ghosts

Tuesday, 19 Apr 2022 to Saturday, 06 Aug 2022

3F, Fredesvinda Almeda Consunji Gallery Ambeth R Ocampo Gallery Elizabeth Gokongwei Gallery, and Alicia P Lorenzo Gallery

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For inquiries, email aag@ateneo.edu.

Fear of Freedom Makes Us See Ghosts is a major solo exhibition by artist Pio Abad. The exhibition is the culmination of Abad’s ten-year project that examines the conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos (1965 – 1986) by excavating silenced histories, devising actions, and remaking an inventory of objects tainted by the regime’s corruption.

Abad employs a wide variety of media, from the more traditional forms of painting and photography to new innovations such as 3D printed sculpture and augmented reality (AR), in order to depict the history of the Marcos dictatorship as a past that urgently needs to be made present. The exhibition is an extensive and elaborate disavowal of violent political fantasies, laundered histories, and alternative facts.

The exhibition title is lifted from a passage in Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, a foundational text for the community of young activists and community organizers who emerged from the Ateneo de Manila University during the Marcos dictatorship, the artist’s parents among them. The Ateneo also holds particular resonance as the site where Abad’s parents were held under campus arrest in 1980, for their roles in establishing the social democratic movement that would eventually be crucial in toppling the regime. They would later be involved in the country’s difficult transition to democracy after 20 years of authoritarian rule. In Abad’s practice, personal and political histories are irrevocably entwined.

Fear of Freedom Makes Us See Ghosts opens at the Ateneo Art Gallery on 19 April 2022 at the Fredesvinda Almeda Consunji Gallery, Ambeth R Ocampo Gallery, Elizabeth Gokongwei Gallery, and Alicia P Lorenzo Gallery at the 3/F Soledad V Pangilinan Arts Wing. The exhibition is extended until 6 August 2022.

About the Artist:

Pio Abad (b. 1983, Quezon City) began his art studies at the University of the Philippines (2002–2004) before receiving a BA from Glasgow School of Art in 2007 and an MA from the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2012.

He has had solo exhibitions at Kadist, San Francisco; Oakville Galleries, Ontario; Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney; Gasworks, London and Jorge B. Vargas Museum, Manila.

He has recently participated in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Jameel Art Centre, Dubai; the 2nd Honolulu Biennial, Hawaii; the 12th Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju; Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow; Kadist, Paris; Para Site, Hong Kong. He will also be part of the 5th Kochi Muziris Biennial and the 58th Carnegie International in 2022.

Abad’s works are part of a number of collections including Tate, UK; Kadist, Paris/San Francisco, and Art Jameel, Dubai. He has also curated exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila; Spike Island, Bristol and Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai.


'Pio Abad Presents Telling New Art Exhibit on the "Conjugal Dictatorship" of the Marcos Family', Ryanne Co, Tatler Philippines

'Pio Abad’s latest exhibit reveals the ugliness behind the ‘beauty’ of martial law', Paolo Vergara, Nolisoli PH

'Ghosts in the machine', Scott Garceau, PhilStar Life