Bouquet for Veracruz, 2024

Stephanie Comilang, Embroidery on pineapple fabric, ø 140 cm, ø 156 cm

The video and textile installation ‘Search for Life’ explores Spain’s presence in the Philippines, the mercantile voyages of the Manila galleon, and the establishment of trade routes centuries ago that are still being used today. Alongside the film, the exhibition will show a number of textile works made of pineapple fiber, traditionally used for fabric production after this fruit was introduced to the archipelago by the Spanish. The embroideries on the textiles allude to the Manila shawl and, with them, the Spanish colonial past. They fill the room with images of the natural world, such as flowers from potatoe, banana, cacao and coffee plants imported by the Spanish, re-interpreted through the eyes of the butterflies. Each of these framed ‘bouquets’ are named after port cities on the Spanish colonial trade routes.

The work unfolds in two episodes that are composed of independent pieces but together tell a single story. The first episode of the work, curated by Chus Martínez, is presented at the Museo Nacional Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid (5 March – 26 May 2024) and the second episode, curated by Amal Khalaf, will be presented at Sharjah Biennial 16, United Arab Emirates (February – June 2025).