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Mossgreen Gallery is excited to present an exhibition of new works by Mike Chavez, opening on 15 April. Entitled ‘A Fistful of Pesos’, a reference to the official currency of the Philippines, Mike’s inaugural exhibition at Mossgreen is a strong and challenging body of work focussing on issues that polarise in Manila, his native home capital.
Using his distinctive 'post-graffiti' style, a blend of photography, screen printing and graffiti elements, Chavez presents a nation struggling to come to terms with its postcolonial identity following 300 years of Spanish rule and a further 50 years as an American territory. Ethnographic photographs of people in traditional Filipino attire are re-branded with iconic American symbols, whilst images of derelict skyscrapers (taken by the artist on a recent trip to the Philippines) are tagged with slogans such as “metro gwapo’ and “urban facelift project’. Both humorous and hard-hitting, Mike Chavez's latest exhibition has a clear message - 'Ce n'est pas un paradis' - this is no paradise. A former animator, Mike Chavez has had a meteoric rise to prominence in the short space of only four years as a practicing artist. He was among a select group of artists invited to participate in Renault’s 2007 New Generation exhibition showcasing ‘young artists to watch’ and he is also featured in the latest issue of Belle magazine as a rising star of the contemporary art scene. Perhaps Chavez’s most personal and provocative body of work to date, ‘A Fistful of Pesos’ packs quite a punch – an exhibition not to be missed.

Erica Kritikides

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