Within the stillness of Quiban’s landscapes, there is rupture. Unrecognizable yet so familiar, the breathless expanses offer a lonesome meeting place, a site to befriend only one’s shadow.
“Shadows are the scars, failures, and pain that demand to be recognized and seen.” They surround and follow us everywhere, their presence a constant reminder that the paths we tread are not always illumined, but cast in the dark, often obstructed by our own presence. They exist within, the markings of memories that we can’t just shake off. However, this vast darkness, for all its emptiness, is a vessel to be filled, a place to breathe, a space to grow.
Quiban’s loose brushstrokes only suggest landscapes. One might make out a horizon, perhaps trace the banks of a hushed river, and sense the windlessness sweeping over the plains and between the trees. But, the contours of Quiban’s works more than describe clouds and skylines.
Shaped by his own moods and imagination, these sights are non-existent. They exist just as shadows of unearthed memories and living life as it comes, textured by the moments we may not want to but need to remember. Gentle as he handles the creation of atmosphere, there is a palpable heaviness to his render, for these are—more than descriptions—interpretations of a feeling, a moment spent eckoning with what we have to leave behind and what we must carry into the present.
This is a central theme to an artist who is still feeling for home more than a decade on since his expatriation from the Philippines to Singapore. “Home is a feeling, our true north, our constant, our comfort zone.” Meanwhile, the world outside is ever-changing, a terrain mired by the complexities and pains of living.
Unable as we are to grasp their unpinnable familiarity, Quiban’s landscapes urge us to face a quiet battle and accept what we don’t and may never understand. In time, rupture gives way to peace and the blur of recollections reads like a love letter from our past selves.
Text by Gabrielle Gonzales