Ahead of a major U.S. retrospective due to open in 2023, the estate of Pacita Abad, a pioneering Filipina artist whose work has become a staple at international biennials, has joined New York’s Tina Kim Gallery, which specializes in Asian contemporary art. The arrangement marks the first time that Abad or her estate have ever had gallery representation. The gallery’s first Abad show is slated for 2023.
Abad is best known for her paintings that make use of a technique she called trapunto that involved stuffing and stitching her canvases. These works drew on Abad’s own experience as a Filipina woman living abroad and reflected on the realities of immigrants and marginalized groups. Faith Ringgold once praised Abad, who died in 2004, as an artist who “creates her work from the point of view of an international woman of color.”
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Though Abad’s work was periodically seen in the U.S. during her lifetime, it has only recently gained more widespread appreciation in the West following major shows in the Philippines and Indonesia, at institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Manila. A lauded 2020 survey at Spike Island in Bristol, England, helped bring attention to her work to a larger audience, as did a 2021 show at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, and appearances in various biennials have followed.
Last year, Abad’s work could be seen at the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. This year, it will be shown at the Kathmandu Triennale in Nepal. In 2023, it will be the subject of a full-scale retrospective at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
“We are very pleased to represent the Pacita Abad Art Estate, and carry forward the spirit of Abad‘s global practice,” Tina Kim, the gallery’s founder, said in a statement. “From her early mask works, to her social realist immigration series, Abad‘s immense oeuvre continues to break boundaries between cultures and transcend borders altogether, in strong alignment with the concerns of our program.”