(Heaven and Earth)
Real Art Ways presents a solo exhibition by 2022 Real Art Award recipient Bhen Alan.
Bhen Alan’s Langit Lupa (Heaven and Earth) exhibition spotlights the banig — a Filipino indigenous mat — to investigate the artist’s relationship with cultural objects, relocation, diaspora, and experiences as an immigrant. The works in the exhibition are influenced by the artist’s Fulbright research and fieldwork in the Philippines in 2022-2023. Though it looks back on the history, making, ritual, and function of a traditional banig, the artist abstracts all of these elements as a way of finding new meaning, new location, and new interaction.
About the Artist
Bhen Alan (b.1993) was raised in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, Philippines. He grew up dancing traditional folk and cultural dances to preserve their culture. He immigrated to Toronto, Canada when he was 17 years old before settling in the United States.
Bhen is a visual artist, dancer, and educator. In 2019, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth where he was a full scholar. In the same year, he pursued a Business Accelerator Certificate from the Entrepreneurship For-All in SouthCoast Massachusetts. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Certificate in Collegiate Teaching in Art and Design at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is a U.S. Fulbright scholar of 2022-2023 in the Philippines, where he researched and worked alongside master weavers of indigenous tribes in 14 different islands.
He has exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Praise Shadow Gallery in Brookline, Massachusetts, 808 Gallery at Boston University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Hunter Gallery in Middletown, Rhode Island, EIK Gallery at Yale University, Culture Lab LIC in New York, the Providence Public Art Library, St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston, John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto, Canada, Shockboxx Gallery in California, Providence Art Club, Bowersock Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the New Bedford National Historical Park and many more. He organized the first Filipino Heritage Festival during the 2022 PVD Fest in Providence, Rhode Island.
He has received awards such as the Emerging Artist Award and Mary Shannon Award for Public Art at St. Botolph Club Foundation, Boston, MA, Emerging Artist Award from Real Arts Award, 2021-2022 RISD Graduate Commons Grant, and UMass Dartmouth Summer Research Grant.
About the Real Art Awards
The Real Art Awards is an annual opportunity for emerging artists living in New England, New Jersey, or New York. The open call, offered with no entry fees to artists, attracts hundreds of applicants each year, of which 6 artists are chosen. Selected artists receive a solo exhibition, with a commissioned essay, professional documentation, and a cash prize of $2,500. The 2022 Real Art Awards was juried by multidisciplinary artist Carlos Motta, curator and creative strategist Yona Backer, and Real Art Ways Executive Director Will K. Wilkins. The 2022 Real Art Awards is supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation.