“These two works of art are selected from a body of work that I have done as part of the Filipino- American arts movement in the United States. Lapu Lapu and Manong Benny is a picture taken of a small section of my 1984, 90-foot high mural Ang Lipi ni Lapu Lapu, that depicts the history of Filipino immigration to the United States. Manong Benny represents the wave of immigration that brought Filipino men to the United States who became the “manongs” [or elder males], of the generations to come. Manong Benny lived in the I-Hotel the site of a legendary, decades-long housing struggle in San Francisco. Standing next to the first hero Lapu Lapu, the two figures bring the ancient and recent past together.
Isang Gabi is print that is inspired by a video project created by the Barrionics. The vanguard stylings of Barrionics exemplify the latest developments in folk traditions, electronic music and designed environment. This includes paintings, mixed media, video and performance from its three members: [myself], artist, curator and academic Rico Reyes and composer Anne Perez. [Our] video, Sarung Banggi from which the Isang Gabi image is drawn, has mythological elements of the universe, the romancing of deities and mysterious figures.”
Johanna Poethig’s work crosses public and private realms influenced by the movements in art that blur the boundaries of public space, art, commodity, symbol, satire, social practice, performance and cultural iconography. She engages in the problem solving of complex artistic processes that involve site, scale, time, social interaction and materials. She grew up in the Philippines and has been active in Filipino-American Arts community since the 1980s. In November 2014, Poethig and composer Chris Brown installed their video/sound piece Music of the Lost Cities in Intramuros, the historic core of Manila as part of Project Glocal, an experimental artist project in Asia. She is currently Lead Artist with Mildred Howard, Joyce Hsu and Peter Richards, on a major public art project to create integrated art for the 34 stations planned as part of the 9.5-mile East Bay Bus Rapid Transit system in Oakland California. She has also been selected for the 2015 Creative Commons Curatorial Residency to curate Glamorgeddon: The Spectacle at SOMArts Gallery.
In 2012, Poethig participated in the annual Artisterium in Tbilisi, Georgia, exhibiting her work and doing a public art intervention of painted Tire Totems in Eliava Market sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. Her other recent exhibits include Me Love You Long Time at the Aljira Center for the Arts in Newark, New Jersey and at the Boston Center for the Arts, the Space Bi project at the Asian Art Museum, solo shows at Manilatown Heritage Center and Togonon Gallery in San Francisco. She was part of the 2008 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Bay Area Now 5 with the Galleon Trade International Artist Exchange for which she collaborated with Manila artist Noberto Roldan and writer Lourd de Veyra. She has shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pro Arts in Oakland and Berkeley Arts Center, all in California; The Bronx Museum, New York; and Taman Budaya in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, among many other venues. She has created major works of public art throughout the Bay Area, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, Stockton, Vancouver, Pajaro, Cuba, and Milwaukee. She is Professor of Painting and Public Art at the Visual and Public Art Department, California State University, Monterey Bay.