To Paint to Weave, Arete Museum, Manila, Nov 02 2018 - Jan 20 2019, in collaboration with Rags 2 Riches

To Paint and to Weave.png


"Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done: the dictation of the materials" 

Anni Albers

The manifestation of to paint / to weave was heavily influenced by artist Thao Nguyen Phan's visit to Rags2Riches (R2R) and its artisan communities. However, its conception had begun long before this milestone trip. to paint / to weave is a series of watercolor paintings on Vietnamese silk, which depict women weaving in various forms.

Phan has been interested in local handicrafts specific to the region of South East Asia, the practices of which were formerly perceived as slow, now viewed as "the future of craftsmanship", with an emphasis on a collective effort towards a more sustainable mode of production and consumption. 

to paint / to weave is an artistic journey that attempts to bridge the mediums of painting and weaving. Regardless of their difference in form, functionality, and representation, they share many things in common: both actions are ancient and political. Both remind us of our early civilization, and are commercialized for their potential to be both sublimely beautiful and mundanely functional. To paint or to weave -- these gestures remind us why we create, collect, and admire the objects of our culture. 

About the artist

Thao Nguyen Phan is a multimedia artist whose practice encompasses painting, installation, and moving images. Through literature, philosophy and daily life, Phan observes ambiguous issues in social convention, history and tradition. 

Phan has exhibited widely in Vietnam and abroad, with solo and group exhibitions at Gemaldegalerire, Berlin (2018); Dhaka Art Summit (2018); Para Site, Hong Kong (2018); Factory Contemporary Art Centre, Ho Chi Minh City (2017); Nha San Collective, Hanoi (2017); Betonsalon, Paris (2016); among others. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka: Singapore Art Museum, Singapore and Kadist Art Foundation, Paris and San Francisco. 

Phan participated in the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative with mentor Joan Jonas (2016-2017) and has also completed residencies at Bottin Foundation, Santander, Spain (2016)

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore (2016) and San Art Laboratory artist-in-residence programme, Ho Chi Minh City (2013). She was awarded the grand prix of apb foundation signature art prize 2018, organized by Singapore Art Museum. 

In addition to her work as a multimedia artist, she is a co-founder of the collective Art Labor, which explores cross disciplinary practices and develops art projects that benefit the local community. 

Phan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with first class honors) from Lasalle College of Arts, Singapore (2009) and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2013). She was born in 1987 in Ho Chi Minh City, where she continues to live and work. 

Areté & R2R

Sandbox School is the program under which Areté that provides residency-grants to student projects as well as capacity-building activities to different groups within and/or affiliated with the university. Because of their desire to engage with academics from the university and others that might be able to provide them with a different perspective of their business model, Ms. Reese Fernandez-Ruiz and R2R are offered a Sandbox School residency as an alumni group. 

As part of the Sandbox School residency, Areté will provide opportunities for Ms. Fernandez-Ruiz and R2R to not only offer their story and their processes as examples but also that which will be reappraised. Areté's interest in the collaboration beyond assisting the proponents is participating in the opportunity for a reimagined conversation about important principles and methods behind social entrepreneurship, community engagement, social development, and consequently, nation