Filipino-Australian named finalist of Australia's most prestigious portrait prize
Marikit Santiago with her daughter painting the 'Filipiniana'
Marikit Santiago via Instagram

Filipino-Australian named finalist of Australia's most prestigious portrait prize

Jan Milo Severo (Philstar.com) - June 4, 2021 - 3:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-Australian Marikit Santiago was named as finalist but fell short in winning the Archibald Prize 2021 with her entry “Filipiniana.”

Peter Wegner won the 100th year of Australia's most famous art prize with a portrait of 100-year-old artist Guy Warren. 

Marikit’s “Filipiniana” is a double portrait with two overlapping figures, both in traditional dress. She made it with her seven-year-old daughter Maella Santiago Pearl.

“While motherhood is individual and unique, my work unifies the experiences of others, and reveals my personal bond with my children,” Marikit said in the description provided by her art gallery.



“Filipiniana symbolises this bond by including painterly marks by my firstborn, Maella, which weave in and out of the multiple layers. They create a vestige of her life now and our special collaboration,” she added. 

Marikit said the painting was also inspired by Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait with monkeys 1943 and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa 1503–18.

“In order to mimic them, my hair is braided in ways never normally worn, and my body is folded into awkward positions. The confrontation of the dual portraits represents how I portray myself and how I am perceived by others,” she said. 

“The title Filipiniana refers to the traditional Filipino formal garments typically worn over an undershirt. The sheer fabric reveals my nude body; a subtle rebellion, perhaps exposing the depiction as fraudulent. Where the portraits overlap, the colours shift to negative, suggesting uncertainty and contradiction,” she added. 

Last year, Marikit won the Sir John Sulman Prize, one of Australia's longest-running art prizes.

The Melbourne-born painter was also an 2016 Archibald Prize finalist for her opus "Blacklustre," a portrait of fellow artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.

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