Kamarikutan Gallery Puerto Princessa

North-South-East-West at Kamarikutan Gallery, Puerto Princessa, Philippines February 2005.

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The North-South-East-West Video Installation with Metis storyteller Graham Thompson was presented at the Kamarikutan Gallery, Puerto Princessa Philippines February 2005.

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Kamarikutan Kape at Galeri, the hub for visual arts in Palawan and is owned by Dayang Macasaet and her daughters Mabu Conde, and Palawan’s project director for Culture & Arts Dinggot Prieto. Pictured below, Dinggot is pictured at the top of the christmas tree, 127 feet above the ground. Also known as Maria Teodora Conde-Prieto, she is the artist behind the giant Christmas tree that was raised in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

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Prieto, who majored in comparative literature, and philosophy back in college, was a self taught artist. Dinggot Prieto was born and raised in Baguio City, but her mother was a native of Puerto Princesa. Prieto went back to her roots when she decided to migrate back to Palawan in 1990. This act also resulted for Prieto to pursue her art by establishing a cafe-gallery and repository for arts and culture in Puerto Princesa in 1994 called Kamarikutan.

Prieto worked with the national Commission for Culture and the Arts from 2002 to 2008. She was also a member of the executive committee for visual arts. She also joined the provincial government of Palawan as program director for culture and arts, and established the Palawan Culture and Arts Guild together with Governor Joel Reyes.

“We have indigenized the concept of the art gallery,” explains Dinggot, “Our challenge is to find the expression that best represents Palawan. Bacolod has its social realism school, Baguio artists focus on the indigenous, Palawan has only the nature landscapes to distinguish it.”

Over the years, the gallery has been host to hundreds of canvases, sculptures, prints and installations. It has provided the people of Puerto Princesa access to these forms of expression and increased their awareness and created a venue for discussion. The mother-and-daughter team has been awarded for their service to the community. In 1998 they were given the Mayor’s Award for their contribution in preserving Puerto Princesa’s rich cultural beauty.

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The Kamarikutan Gallery covers a hectare of Land planted with Balayong also know as Palawan Cherry, Bamboos and Other Flora endemic to the place. It also becomes a haven of some birds hanging and singing from the branches of trees. Kamarikutan is loosely modelled on a Bahay Kubo ( Nipa hut) made of native materials such as bamboo slots, wood and nipa. In Addition, all tables, chairs and furniture’s are made of native material like hardwood. Kamarikutan is divided into two parts. The higher part is an art gallery of local artist such as painting and artworks. While the lowers is where the café located.

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