Artist shortlisted for Turner Prize for Ashmolean Museum exhibition

Pio Abad has been shortlisted for his exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, ‘To Those Sitting in Darkness’.

It is an Ashmolean NOW display, a series featuring early to mid-career UK artists.

Mr Abad’s exhibition opened in February and is set to run until September.

Oxford Mail: Artist Pio AbadArtist Pio Abad (Image: Hannah Pye for the Ashmolean)

Mr Abad’s range of works on display include drawings, sculptures, and text-based pieces that deal with themes related to colonial history and cultural loss, informed by his upbringing in the Philippines under the Marcos dictatorship.

Now based in London, he invites audiences to question established understandings and viewpoints.

Oxford Mail: Pio Abad's exhibitionPio Abad’s exhibition (Image: Hannah Pye for the Ashmolean)

Mr Abad’s exhibition, named after the satire by American writer Mark Twain criticising imperialism, ‘To the Person Sitting in Darkness’, casts light on items within the University of Oxford’s collections whose histories have been ignored or forgotten.

The exhibition showcases the artist’s designs along with work by other artists and ‘diasporic’ objects sourced from across Oxford’s archival collections, including the Pitt Rivers Museum, St John’s College, and Blenheim Palace.

Oxford Mail: A viewing of Pio Abad's exhibitionA viewing of Pio Abad’s exhibition (Image: Hannah Pye for the Ashmolean)

Mr Abad said: “I am beyond thrilled to be shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

“I share this honour with my community of makers, custodians and storytellers who made this exhibition possible: curator Lena Fritsch, my wife and collaborator Frances, the artist Carlos Villa and his family, and Jamela Alindogan and the Sinagtala weavers.

“My exhibition endeavours to illuminate struggles and stories that have been kept in the dark for too long, and I am delighted that this nomination can shine an even brighter light on them.”

Dr Lena Fritsch, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Ashmolean and curator of Ashmolean NOW, said: “Where many of us who work in or visit museums think of them as spaces of preservation, communication and inclusion, Pio Abad makes the case for them as places of loss, silence and exclusion.

Oxford Mail: Dr Lena Fritsch and Pio AbadDr Lena Fritsch and Pio Abad (Image: Hannah Pye for the Ashmolean)

“His visually alluring and thought-provoking work underlines how art is the ideal medium to rediscover, debate and liberate ‘diasporic’ objects and give them a new cultural platform, memory and voice.”

Director of the Ashmolean Museum, Dr Xa Sturgis, added: “I am thrilled that Pio has been shortlisted for the Turner Prize for his exhibition in our Ashmolean NOW series which encourages contemporary artists to engage with our collections and our history.

“Pio’s multi-layered works repay all the looking and thinking that their meticulous and engaging nature encourages us to give them.”

Mr Abad will be ‘In Conversation’ with Anthony Gardner, professor of contemporary art history, Ruskin School of Art at the Ashmolean on May 1.

Latest news
Related news