The Last Pine Tree
April 25 – May 20, 2013
3rd Floor Galleries
By using photography to highlight issues that are close to her heart, Kat Palasi’s The Last Pine Tree portrays the face of industry through a story of dispossession. In Palasi’s words, the people of Benguet province have become “disenfranchised by the many ‘development’ projects that have been imposed on them for many decades”.
Compared with the other provinces in the Cordilleras, Benguet has the most degraded land and the least amount of forest cover, both on account of a long history of mining. As a child in Itogon (a municipality of Benguet), Palasi recalls playing with the colored stones in a grey river, not realizing that the water had turned grey because of the mines in the mountains.
The Last Pine Tree is the result of Palasi’s many other realizations about heritage and preservation in the midst of massive development. In this series, she shows how land, language, and customs become “special pockets of resistance” through which an indigenous culture struggles to stay alive, even as it is pushed towards the margins. Through her work as a photographer and outdoor enthusiast, Palasi attempts to reinforce these narratives surrounding Benguet cultures that are slowly being eroded—as is the case with the patrimony of many indigenous peoples everywhere.
This project is sponsored by the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development. The exhibition opens on the 25th of April, 2013 at the 3rd floor galleries, and runs until May 20.