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Martha Atienza, Endless Hours at Sea, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Martha Atienza, For Us, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Martha Atienza, My Navel is Buried in the Sea, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.

Martha Atienza, Open Studio, Gasworks, 2016. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist.

Martha Atienza, Open Studio, Gasworks, 2016. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist.

Working with video, sound and installation, Martha Atienza explores her direct environment from a sociological perspective, transforming her observations into fiction and investigating the use of art as a tool for social change. Since 2010 she has been working on two projects: Para sa Aton and My Navel is Buried at Sea, in her hometown of Madridejos on Bantayan Island, the Philippines. This fishing community faces a number of environmental, social and economic pressures due to global warming, migration and poverty. Working together with her family and the local community, these projects aim to identify the needs of the island and its peoples and work toward solutions to the issues they face.

During her residency at Gasworks, Atienza continued to work on material she shot on the islands, and was initially working on a video that was shown in Art Basel Hong Kong. Later on in the residency, Martha used the studio to experiment with water and light, continuing her recent work in kinetic sculpture. For the Open Studios event, Martha presented a sculpture and a new film using material shot on the islands, as a way to introduce a London audience to her continuing projects there.

Atienza also arranged a screening of The Kalampag Tracking Agency, a curatorial and organisational collaboration between Shireen Seno and Merv Espina. Featuring some of the most striking films and videos from the Phillipines and its diaspora, this intitiative continues to navigate the unchartered topographies of Filipino alternative and experimental moving image practice from the past 30 years and includes Martha's work, Anito.

This was the first UK screening of the program and also featured Martha in conversation with May Ingawanij. The event was followed by a dinner and studio visit for over 50 people where Atienza prepared a typical Filipino dish together with Gasworks studio artist Pio Abad.


Martha Atienza lives and works in the Philippines and the Netherlands. Recent exhibitions include Study in Reality no. 3, Silverlens Gallery, Makati (2015) and Endless Hours at Sea, Ateneo Gallery, Quezon City (2014). She was awarded the Thirteen Artists Award by the Cultural Centre of the Philippines (2015) and was nominated for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Hong Kong (2014). Martha was a resident artist at Artesan Gallery Studio, Singapore (2014) and at the Omi International Arts Centre, New York (2013).

Martha Atienza’s residency was supported by Mercedes Zobel in partnership with Outset. She was hosted in the Outset Residency Studio.