Stephanie Comilang

Stephanie Comilang (1980, Toronto, Canada) is a Filipina-Canadian artist living and working between Toronto and Berlin. 

With a focus on the migrant experience, one capable of reducing people to anonymous individuals living and working in unstable elsewheres, Comilang considers the growing disparity between the human and the global. Through a genre she terms “sci-fi documentary,” Comilang creates films whose narratives are driven by multiple voices and points of view to consider how culture and society engage with such salient aspects of the globalized world as mobility, capital and labor. The intimate narrative and filmic devices Comilang employs cause her films to fit not so neatly into either category of that hybrid definition—they feel too possible to be sci-fi, too close to be documentary, and instead carry something of the imagistic epistolary or confessional.

Her work has been shown at Transmediale Festival, Berlin; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Tai Kwun Hong Kong, Hong Kong; International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam; Tate Modern, London; Julia Stoschek Foundation, Berlin; Asia Art Archive in America, New York; and Haus der Kunst, Munich. She was awarded the 2019 Sobey Art Award, Canada’s most prestigious art prize for artists 40 years and younger.

Search for Life by Comilang and curated by Chus Martínez opened on March 5th at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Madrid as part of its program at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum. The project will unfold in two episodes, the second of which will be curated by Amal Khalaf at Sharjah Biennial 16, United Arab Emirates (February – June 2025).

Collections: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal; Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin.


Ontario College of Art & Design University

Solo Exhibitions:

Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?, in collaboration with Simon Speiser, Silverlens, Manila
Search for Life, Curated by Chus Martínez, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?, Curated by Peta Rake, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane
How to Make a Painting From Memory, Curated by Alana Traficante, Gallery 44, Toronto

Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?, Collaboration with Simon Speiser, Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Center, Canada

How to Make a Painting from Memory, ChertLüdde, Berlin
Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?, Curated by Lisa Long, Collaboration with Simon Speiser, Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin
Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?, Collaboration with Simon Speiser, Curated by John G. Hampton with Lillian O’Brien Davis, Mackenzie Gallery, Regina
Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?, Curated by Heather Canlas Rigg, Collaboration with Simon Speiser, Gallery TPW, Toronto

Yesterday in the Years 1886 & 2017, The Institute for Endotic Research, Berlin
Float, Curated by Murtaza Vali, Warehouse 421, Abu Dhabi

It All Makes Sense, Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto Come
To Me Paradise, TOR, Frankfurt Am Main

Yesterday In The Years 1886 & 2017, Artspeak, Vancouver

Flirting: Kyoto, Kyoto Art Centre, Kyoto

Group Exhibitions:

Sharjah Biennial 16, Curated by Alia Swastika, Amal Khalaf, Megan Tamati-Quennell, Natasha Ginwala and Zeynep Öz (6 February–15 June 2025)

Green Snake: women-centred ecologies, Collaboration with Simon Speiser, Curated by Kathryn Weir and Xue Tan, Tai Kwun Gallery, Hong Kong
How we remember tomorrow, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane
Heavy Water I of Coordinates, Containers and Containment, Alexander Levy, Berlin

Fotograf Festival: HYPERTENSION23, Curated by Monika Čejková & Martina Poliačková, National Gallery, Prague
My Demons My Angels, ChertLüdde, Berlin
Shrines, Silverlens Gallery, New York
A Body of Memory (from neurons to the sea), curated by Katrine Elise, Agpalza Pedersen Kunsthalle Trondheim, Trondheim
A World of Islands – On Palms, Storms and Coconuts, curated by Ligaya Salazar, Stanley Picker, Gallery – Kingston University, London

A Clearing in the Forest: Enmeshed, Curated by Valentine Umansky with Carly Whitefield, The Tanks at Tate Modern,  London
Ancestral Weavings, Tate Modern, London
Blue Assembly, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, Australia
L’art de la Recherche, Dazibao, Montreal

Nation, Narration, Narcosis, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
K60, Willhelm Hallen, Gallery Weekend, Berlin
Zin Ex. De la abstracción al algoritmo, Centro Internacional de Cultura Contemporánea Tabakalera, San Sebastian
Merzbau Garten, Kinderhook & Caracas, Berlin
So Close I Can See Inside of You, Chert Lüdde, Berlin

A Hypothetical Show For A Closed Museum, Curated by Victor Wang, M Woods, Beijing
First Person Plural, European Media Arts Festival, Kunsthalle Osnabrücke
Open Possibilities: There is not only one neat way to imagine our future, NTT Intercommunication Centre, Tokyo

Sobey Art Award Exhibition, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton
Re:Working Labour, Curated by Daniel Eisenberg and Ellen Rothenberg Sullivan Galleries at the School of Art Institute Chicago, Chicago
The Bicycle Thieves, Curated by Hanlu ZhangPara Site, Hong Kong
Poor Imagination, Sullivan & Strumpf, Singapore
Labour of Love, Curated by Monika Janulevičiūtė and Antanas Lučiūnas, Centre of Contemporary Art, Vilnius
Take Care, Centre d’art Contemporain de la Ferme Du Buisson, Paris
Public Volumes, Small Arms Inspection Building, Mississauga
Worlding It Otherwise Or Else, Bärenzwinger, Berlin

I’ll Be Your Mirror, Curated by Crystal Mowry, Kitchener/Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener/Waterloo
Between Points, Supportico Lopez and Archivo Conz, Berlin
Ghost: 2561, Curated by Korakrit Arunanondchai, Video & Performance Triennale, Curated by Korakrit Arunanondchai, Cartel, Bangkok
The Surface of the Sun, Curated by Erik Martinson, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Estonia
Tropical Escapism, Gallery 856, Cebu, Philippines
Performing The System, Kunstverein Hildesheim, Hildesheim
Whose Land Have I Lit On Now? Contemplations on the Notions of Hospitality, Curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung with Elena Agudio and Denise Ryner, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin
DGTLFMNSM, Intimacy, Dresden
Movers & Shakers, Curated by Betty Julian, Prefix ICA, Toronto

What A Time To Be Alive, Dikeou Collection, Denver
What is Left What is Right?, Curated by Christina Battle and Jenna Faye Powell, Forest City Gallery, London, Ontario
Eyes Above Bodies Below, The Ryder, London, England
Im_mobilities, Curated by Juana Awad, Julia Eckert und Nada Schroer, Galerie KUB, Leipzig
True Politics, Gegenkino, Leipzig
Promises of Monsters, Kunstverein Hildesheim
What Does One Do With Such A Clairvoyant Image?, Curated by Leila Timmins, cheyanne turions and Jayne Wilkinson, Contact Festival, Toronto
I Am The Organizer of My Own Objects, Curated by cheyanne turions, Dazibao, Montreal

Cruising & Saltsplex, Curated by Elise Lammer, S.A.L.T.S, Basel
How To make Space, Oasis Gallery, Hong Kong

Selected Screenings:

St Moritz Art Film Festival, St Moritz
HOUSE Cinema, Bangkok
Jameel Art Centre, Dubai
Art Basel Film Sector, Basel

Cinema Gallegiante Floating Cinema, Venice
Haus der Kunst, Munich

Filmwork, Akademie der Künste der Welt, Köln
Decoratelier, Brussels
Artist Cinema, Curated by Laure Prouvost, E-flux On-line

Arkipel International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Jakarta
A Space, Vancouver
E-Flux’s Bar Laika, New York
Vector Festival, Toronto
Belles Artes Outpost, Manila
Tai Kwun, Hong Kong
Transmediale Festival, Berlin
OCADU, Toronto

Trinity Square Video, Toronto
Kunsthal: Extra City, Antwerp
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, Berwick
Architecture Film Festival, Stockholm
Kosmotique, Dresden
Ashley, Berlin
Los Otros, Manila
International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam

856 Gallery, Cebu
Images Festival, Toronto
Institut Für Zukunft, Leipzig
UCLA as part of VoidLab, Los Angeles

8-11, Toronto
Agora, Berlin
Asia Art Archive in America, New York

Grants, Awards & Residencies:

Horizon Art Foundation, LA
Callie’s, Berlin
Federal Foreign Office Artist Residency, Berlin Kunstfonds

Canada Council, Concept to Realization
Berlin Senate Research Grant

Belles Artes Artist in Residence, Philippines
Kamias Triennale Artist in Residence, Philippines

Recipient of the Sobey Art Award
Canada Council, Concept to Realization
Canada Council, Arts Abroad

Canada Council, Arts Abroad Ontario Arts Council, National and International Residencies

Toronto Arts Council, Media Arts
Canada Council, Arts Abroad
Canada Council, Research & Creation
Tropical Futures Institue Residency, Cebu, Philippines
Images Festival Award to Toronto Artist

Canada Council, Grants to Media Artists
Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance

Ontario Arts Council, Grants to Media Artists

Ontario Arts Council, National & International Residency
Canada Council, Travel Grant to Media Artists
Kyoto Art Centre Residency, Kyoto, Japan

Ontario Arts Council, Grants to Media Artists

Toronto Arts Council, Grants to Media Artists

Ontario Arts Council, Grants to Media Artists

Selected Bibliography:

“Stephanie Comilang Reflexiona Sobre Las Crisis Migratorias a Través de las Mariposas en ‘En Busca de la Vida’, Su Primera Gran Exposición en España,” by Alberto Sisí Sánchez, Vogue Spain, 4 March, 2024, online.
“Review: On Displacement and Territory in Stephanie Comilang’s ‘Search for Life’” by Vanessa Murrell, Something Curated, 22 March, 2024, online.
“Who is Stephanie Comilang? The Artist Exploring Labour and Transition in a Globalised World” by Rosie Fitters, Elephani, 18 April 2024, online.

“Stephanie Comilang and Simon Speiser’s “Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?” by Mitsuko Noguchi, on Femme Art Review, Online

New York’s Silverlens Bets Big with an Ambitious Group Show That’s Luring Filipino Americans” by Shanti Escalante-De-Mattei on ARTnews, 27 June, Online
“Stephanie Comilang” edited by Anne Frechen, Landesverband Berliner Galerien (lvbg): AArtist Residency, 2023, Berlin

“Filipina Artists with Enviable personal style” by Karina Swee, on Vogue, 29 August, Online
“Stephanie Comilang, Simon Speiser” by Xenia Benivolski, on Artforum Critics’ Picks, April 2022, Online
“Stephanie Comilang and Simon Speiser’s “Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?” by Jayne Wilkinson, Art Agenda, 19 October, Online
“What to see during Berlin Art Weekend”, by Claire Koron Elat, Frieze, April 2022

“Stephanie Comilang Warehouse 421”, by Rahel Aima, Artforum
“Review: Yesterday in the Years 1886 & 2017”, by Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Droning Paradise, by Tracy Valcourt, Border Crossings Magazine
“Small Gods: Perspectives On The Drone, by Alex Quicho, Zero Books

“Bicycle Thieves Review”, by Dana Kopel, Art In America
“Like A Vessel: A Conversation between Peaches and Stephanie Comilang”, Canadian Art
“What Now For Hong Kong (And For Us)?”, by David Markus, Frieze
“I’ll Be You Mirror”, review by Noa Bronstein, C Mag

“Cyborg Dreams and Labouring Prosthetics in Stephanie Comilang’s Lumapit Sa Akin”, Paraiso, by Danelle Ortiz, Nang Issue 4
“Shamanistic Artistry: Highlights From Ghost: 2561”, by Annie Jael Kwan, Asia Art Pacific

“Review of Yesterday In the Years 1886 & 2017”, exhibition review by Heather Rigg, Art Papers
“The Banality of Violence in Architecture”, review by Evan Panka, Canadian Art
“Meeting Yesterday In Paradise”, Profile of Stephanie Comilang by Hyunjee Nicole Kim, Asia Art Pacific
“In Focus: An article about Stephanie Comilang’s film Lumapit Sa Akin”, Paraiso, by Heather Rigg, BlackFlash

“Lumapit Sa Akin”, Paraiso, by Alexander Iadarola, DIS Magazine

Guest Lectures, Talks & Panels:

Art Basel Film Sector, Basel

Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, Braunschweig
University of Toronto, Toronto
Art Basel, Conversations, Hong Kong
The Institute of Endotic Research, Berlin
Warehouse 421, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Akademie der Kunst der Welt, Köln
Art Gallery of Vancouver, Vancouver
MacEwan University, Edmonton

University of Toronto, Toronto
University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, Institut Kunst, Basel
Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto
Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam
Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main

Visiting Faculty:

Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, Emerging Intensive Program, Banff