Pio Abad: Fear of Freedom Makes Us See Ghosts launches at the Ateneo Art Gallery on April 19

Apr 01, 2022

The Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) and visual artist Pio Abad present a new exhibition titled ‘Fear of Freedom Makes Us See Ghosts’. The show opens on April 19, 2022 at the third floor galleries of AAG (Fredesvinda Almeda Consunji Gallery, Ambeth R Ocampo Gallery, Elizabeth Gokongwei Gallery, and Alicia P Lorenzo Gallery).

“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 make 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.

Pio Abad: Fear of Freedom Makes Us See Ghosts will run at the Ateneo Art Gallery until July 30, 2022. The Ateneo Art Gallery is located within the Areté building of Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.

Visits are strictly by appointment. To schedule a visit, go to bit.ly/VisitAAG. For contact details and more information, visit www.ateneoartgallery.com.


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.

Featured image:

Untitled (Febraury 25, 1986),Giclee on print on Hahnemuhle Baryta Paper, 2022

Photo: Andy Keate