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Olivia d’Aboville & Neal Oshima Collaborate On Art Installations For Art Fair Philippines 2019

Art Fair Philippines 2019 will be held at The Link, Ayala Center in Makati City from 22 - 24 February 2019. In this Metro.Style exclusive, photographer Neal Oshima and artist Olivia d’Aboville talked about their collaboration for the art installations for the much-awaited event.


The idea and the collaboration

Neal Oshima, who is well-known for his work in advertising, editorial and documentary photography, recalls that he had a very good experience when he did a show called “Provocations," which he co-curated with Angel Velasco Shaw, for Art Fair last year. They invited different photographers and featured documentary shots. He also had a solo exhibit called “Kin," which featured photos of people from Philippine tribes. The response was very good since around 30,000 people visited the event, and people were curious and interested in learning more about the works featured in the event.

As a photographer, Neal has captured photos in various coastal communities and is aware of environmental concerns affecting us today. His wife, Susan Roxas, works for WWF International. “My wife said to me that WWF has declared that plastics are the single gravest threat to the marine life in the ocean and that it is even greater than climate change," Neal tells Metro.Style.

He did some research and was really concerned when he found out the alarming amount of plastic that goes into the ocean. Neal felt he needed to do something about it so he talked to Lisa Periquet from Art Fair Philippines’ team and shared the concept of doing an art installation via a collaboration with artist Olivia d’Aboville, in hopes of increasing the public’s awareness on the matter.


Photographer Neal Oshima collaborated with artist Olivia d’Aboville for art installations for Art Fair Philippines 2019 to drive awareness about the grave threat that plastics have to our marine ecosystems. | Photo courtesy of Neal Oshima


Neal worked with Olivia before when she did her exhibit in 2010 at the Ayala Museum. Olivia is a French-Filipino artist who graduated with honors from Duperre, a prestigious textile design school in Paris. When they worked together back then, she used post-consumer plastics and transformed them into marine creatures which Neal then placed in the sea and took photographs of.

“There are two installations that Olivia and I are collaborating on. Our concept for this installation at the Greenbelt pond area is based on 'The Gyre,' which is this giant trash island of plastics that is six times the size of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean and located slightly north of the equator. Major contributors of plastic trash that goes into it comes from Asian countries. We are raising awareness that it exists and that people should rethink their relationship with plastic," says Neal.

Their other art installation is located at the bridgeway connecting Landmark to The Link, which is based on a Maze concept. Neil adds, “We wanted to communicate that we created this Maze that we are in now and we are trying to extricate ourselves from it."


A community effort

Neal mentioned that the post-consumer plastic materials that they got and used for the art installations were from a community effort. “We got a lot of materials from foundations, hotels and communities including places where tourists go to such as El Nido, Puerto Galera, Anilao, and other pristine beach areas," Neal shares.

Olivia d’Aboville shared the process involved for the art installation: “I really work with the material and the material dictates what direction we are going to take. It took us a month to collect and prepare the materials for this installation. We were inspired by these fishing nets at first then we partnered with Stairway Foundation and they donated some of the plastic materials they collected and other communities also donated. The post-consumer plastic materials we received had to be cleaned and stitched together and we had a group of women, including the two women who help me with my projects, get their women relatives to help also," Olivia shares with Metro.Style.


Neal Oshima and Olivia d’Aboville worked closely with their team during the installation of “The Gyre” at the Greenbelt mall pond area. | Photo by Tess Raymundo


The art installation by Olivia d’Aboville and Neal Oshima, which represents “The Gyre” at the Greenbelt pond area for Art Fair Philippines 2019, is made from mixed post-consumer plastic materials that were collected from various communities. | Photo by Tess Raymundo


Creating awareness and action

The art installations by Olivia and Neal are also aligned to the message that Olivia wants to convey through her art pieces at the special exhibit at The Link. “It’s my  first time to be featured for the Special Exhibit for Art Fair and I used 100% recycled plastic materials to make the art pieces that are included in the exhibit," says Olivia.

Both Neal Oshima and Olivia d’Aboville believe in the need to create awareness about the grave effects of plastics in our ocean and it is great to see these two successful and creative individuals collaborate and create art installations that help educate people, drive them to rethink their actions, and move them to contribute to possible solutions.

“The issue on plastics is very timely. Change is progressive but it has to start somewhere. Since there will be a lot of students attending Art Fair Philippines, we want them to be aware of this issue and if they learn and they do something about it, then we feel that we have done our part," Olivia points out.

Awareness is indeed key to drive people to change, and each one of us can help contribute by rethinking and making choices that help resolve the immediate environmental issues that we are facing today.


Artist Olivia d’Aboville made use of 100% recycled plastic materials for the art pieces that are included in the Special Exhibit for Art Fair Philippines 2019.


Art Fair Philippines 2019 will be from 22 - 24 February 2019 at The Link, Ayala Center, Makati City. To know more about the event, visit


Photos courtesy of Neal Oshima and Olivia D'Aboville (thumbnail) and by Tess Raymundo (banner)