Silingan Seni Project: A Cross Border Art Initiative of Mindanaoan and Sabahan Visual Artists is a subregional artistic exchange event that will feature a visual arts exhibitions, art conversations, and art-on-site-interaction activities both in the Philippines (Zamboanga City) and Malaysia (Kota Kinabalu and Ranau).
‘Silingan’ is a Visayan word for ‘neighbour,’ while ‘seni’ is a Malay word for ‘artistic.’ These two words, in gist, best describe the project to be implemented in the subregions bordered by the Sulu zone.
This will be first for seasoned artists in Mindanao to exhibit together, engage and share experiences, and create together art-on-site-interactions with Sabahan artists in Zamboanga City and Kota Kinabalu.
Prof. Abraham A. Garcia, Jr., a Mindanao-based practicing artist, art educator, and cultural worker, have met and has ongoing communication with the Cracko Art Group, Pangrok Sulap, and briefly immersed in the Sabah art scene. The possible artistic engagements were discussed during the implementation of the Sabah Art Reach Out Project and Initiate Plans for Cross Border Art ‘Silingan Seni’ Mindanao and Sabahan Visual Artists last 15 to 21 October 2015 in Kota Kinabalu and Ranau.
The Sabah Art Reach Out Project was supported through the Culture and Diplomacy Grant of the NCCA with the assistance of the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Moreover, Garcia’s accommodation, travel, and documentation expenses were funded through a 2015 IFP Alumni Awards Grant. Prof. Garcia is also Co-curator for the Philippines in the Singapore Biennale 2013.
In the Philippines, Silingan Seni will be tied up in partnership with the City Government of Zamboanga City as one of the highlights of the Hermosa Festival on 24 to 25 October 2017 and as a run-up to the Mindanao Week of Peace in November 2017.
Silingan Seni will also be a pioneering endeavour in contemporary visual arts practice in the subregions since the launched of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) during the Ramos Administration in 1994. BIMP-EAGA is geared towards economic cooperation. EAGA is comprised of the following focus areas: the entire sultanate of Brunei Darussalam; the provinces in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua in eastern Indonesia; the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan in Malaysia; and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines.