EXPO 2020 | Philippines Pavilion | What's Inside Philippines Pavilion | Bangkota | Dubai UAE 2021

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The Philippine pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is an ode to Filipino migrant workers across the world, represented through flying sculptures, bird-like motifs and stunning murals.

Inspired by the Bangkota (an ancient Filipino word for coral reef), the pavilion showcases the connectivity and brotherhood among overseas Filipinos.

Curator Marian Pastor Roces has made use of the creative genius of acclaimed local artists throughout the exhibition space to tell the 4,000-year journey of Filipinos.

A sculpture titled Soaring High — by contemporary artist Charlie Co — depicts floating men and women representing expatriate Filipino workers who are flying “to everywhere, for everything, in every possible way forward — and back to the Philippines”.

The theme of travel is not only about today’s Filipino migrant workers, but also their ancestors who lived and moved from island to island, continent to continent, to settle on all islands of half the planet during the Neolithic period.

A mural of the Filipino diaspora painted by Dex Fernandez will also strike a chord among the hundreds and thousands of Filipino expats in the UAE.

Across the pavilion, more striking pieces of art will showcase Filipino talent — from the two-storey sculpture of a mythological figure by Duddley Diaz; a suspended techno-mythological piece by Dan Raralio; human-bird forms by Riel Jaramillo Hilario; and an explosion of bird forms by Toym Imao. 

At the Bangkota, visitors shall be looking up with the stunning scenes of flight all around. This bird motif, the curator said, “depicts the first arrivals of the people who speak our languages 4,000 years ago”.

Music and melodies composed by national artist Ramon P. Santos will take visitors deeper into the Filipino experience. Artist Lee Paje has conceptualised sculptural work that dances with the wildlife photography of Scott ‘Gutsy’ Tuason and Ivan Sarenas.

Why coral reef?

The design of the ‘Bangkota’ (coral reef) pavilion is a tribute to the nature of Filipinos as a people, how they grow into communities yet remain connected through travel, migration and technology.

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