Sign up for our newsletters. You can change the settings or unsubscribe at any time.

I would like to receive the following newsletters (select at least one):

Previous Navigation Arrow

exp. 1

exp. 2

exp. 3


Brenda V. Fajardo

Venue: KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Brenda V. Fajardo

Born 1940 in Manila, PH – lives and works in Quezon City, PH

Brenda V. Fajardo is best known for her complex works on paper that intertwine the social and political realities of the Philippines. Some of her finest works present their iconography within the schema of the tarot—a central image is bordered with a reading of the event, in which the artist divines the outcome and its possibilities. Appropriating the original tarot symbolism into a deck of images she calls Baraha ng Buhay Pilipino (Cards of the Lives of the Filipinos), Fajardo embeds the imagery within the local and power within the feminine.

Layered with gold leaf, the early works in Fajardo’s tarot series focus on the Filipino people and their plight, particularly that of women. Fajardo frequently includes the names of specific individuals in her titles, integrating these into the narratives that she writes as a backdrop to the pieces. This act of naming absolves Fajardo’s works from simply being representative of circumstances and events; instead each becomes an individuated experience. This group of works seems to have foretold the troubles in the Philippines, which continue to this day. Take, for example, the work Siya ang Dragon ng Kadiliman at Kasinungalingan-Gahaman [He is the Dragon of Darkness and Lies – Avaricious, 2018], which was first drawn in 2000, the year of the Metal Dragon. In this “reading” Fajardo divines the destiny of the Philippines at the turn of the century, describing a complicated world without hope (the card Daigdig or World), which is under the spell of The Magician (Salamankero). Fajardo appeals to Filipino citizens to acknowledge the full extent of the corruption in their country, and through struggle and resistance calls on Lady Justice (Katarungan) to lift the sickness and pain inflicted upon the people on the Day of Judgement (Paghuhukom).

These dense and intricate tableaus utilize the Baraha ng Buhay Pilipino deck to provide a necessary, vigilant, and critical reading of the Philippine nation’s fate and its evolving present.

Joselina Cruz

By using this website you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our data privacy policy.

By using this website you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our data privacy policy.