Johanna Poethig – “Ungkat – Shell Games”


Barrio Walang Wala, 12″ x 11″

New Work/Solo exhibition

Painting, sculpture, mixed media, interactive work
December 10, 2022 – Jan 28, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 10, 2022
Opening Hours: 5-8PM
Sound Performance 6pm, Anne Perez, interactive electronics with Sungkaan Coffin
[press release]

Gallery hours: Wednesday and Saturday 12-5pm
Thursday and Friday by appointment

Jeepney in Mud, 12″ x 11″

THE LUGGAGE STORE is excited and honored to reopen on its 35th anniversary with our first exhibition since closing down in 2020 for the Pandemic and will present UNGKAT- SHELL GAMES, a solo exhibition by Johanna Poethig.

Ungkat means to recall in Tagalog. Most Shell Games are a confidence trick, a conjuring where legitimacy is always in question. Informed and inspired by Poethig’s formative years in the Philippines, identity, memory, perspective, views of empire, legitimacy and connection weave through this body of work. Poethig, is a visual, public and performance artist with a legacy and expanding body of work that bridges diverse communities through murals, public art projects, exhibitions and collaborations in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally. Featured work includes:

Corrugated Memories, a series of drawings on porcelain, shaped as corrugate roof fragments blown off by typhoons, based on old photos of life in the Philippines taken during 1957 – 1972.

SUNGKAAN, a popular Philippine shell game, interpreted as a coffin and instrument in collaboration with composer Anne Perez using interactive electronics and live performance.

Toad LilySticky Fingers, print and poker cards weaves the Tasaday hoax, botany and the thievery of Imelda Marcos

Text-tiles, are text excerpts printed on fabric selected from books about imperial wars, authoritarian imaginary, life/death and resistance layered into patterns based on traditional Philippine weavings.

WASAK, an installation of 5 paintings examines the post-colonial ironies of the Philippines, its relationship to the US layered in images, icons and the transmutations of language.

Wall Stories, book release – larger than life tales and behind the scenes moments from the creation of murals and public art projects in the Bay Area and beyond. Books for sale.

BURIAL JARS, an installation of Coke bottles and large drawings of Coke bottles.

THE ARTIST: Poethig grew up in the Philippines and has participated in Filipino-American artist collectives and Philippines based arts projects since the 1980’s. She has a wide range of gallery and performance art experience that mix satire, feminism and cultural critique. Storytelling, whether through public art or studio practice, is central to her work. Songs for women, people power, views of empire, forms of colonization, fossil fuel addiction, nature and the changing environment are braided together across multi-media works. She draws from science, ancient predictive practices, popular forms of fortune telling, magical surrealism and a fabulist futurism to invent new narratives in a time of climate crisis.

She is a 2021 recipient of the California Arts Council Individual Artist Legacy Award, an arts educator and founding faculty of the Visual and Public Art department at California State University, Monterey and is now Professor Emeritus.

Kulintang Babae, 9″ x 17″

Manila Time, 9″ x 18″

Old Warrior, 15″ x 14″

Sticky Fingers – Imelda Toad Lily, print and poker playing cards, 16″ x 20″