For us sinners
Exhibition artist: Marikit Santiago
The garden of Eden, as told by the Book of Genesis in the Bible, is home to the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil that is guarded by a serpent. The craftiest of God’s creations, the serpent persuades Eve to disobey her creator and eat the forbidden fruit, sharing a piece with Adam. This rebellion is discovered by God, who banishes the pair from paradise, sending humankind into the realm of worldly experience, including death, suffering, the inclination to sin, the loss of sanctifying grace and guilty conscious. From herein, the children of Adam and Eve are punished with this hereditary condition, known as ‘original sin’.
Historically understood within Catholicism as a story of temptation and sin brought on by the weakness of woman and the suppleness of the snake, Sydney based painter, Marikit Santiago reframes and complicates this history in a series of commissioned paintings. Combining the narrative power of Catholicism and the western art canon with her lived Australian-Filipino experience, For us sinners explores ‘original sin’ by freeing the story from its gendered taint of weakness and guilt. In a series of emotionally charged works that question the themes of utopia and dystopia, control and transgression, duty and autonomy, sex and sexual difference, paradise and exile, Santiago’s first institutional solo exhibition offers nuanced parables fit for the current moment.
Marikit Santiago (b. 1985, Melbourne. Lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia). Marikit Santiago’s sculptural and painting practice co-opt references, imagery and symbolism from her Australian-Fillipino ancestry, Catholicism and the Western Art Cannon to interrogate the contradictory sensations, values and ideas that exist at her plural identities. Her recent exhibitions include Bayanihan Philippine Art Project (2017) at Art Gallery New South Wales, Blacktown Arts Centre, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Mosman Art Gallery and Peacock Gallery; New Sacred (2018) at Mosman Art Gallery; I LOVE YOU MELISSA (2018), The Lock Up; Mahal (2018), Firstdraft and Everyday Madonna (2019), Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Santiago has been selected as a finalist for the Art Gallery of NSW’s Archibald Prize in 2016, received the Sam Whiteley Commendation Award in the 2018 Churchie Emerging Art Prize, Institute of Modern Art and is a 2019 finalist of the Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 2018, she was shortlisted for Create NSW’s Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship. Santiago also holds a Bachelor of Medical Science (2007), a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours Class I) in 2011 and a Master of Fine Art in 2017 from the University of New South Wales. During this time, she was awarded a Dean’s Award for her undergraduate degree and the Australian Postgraduate Award for her Masters degree. Her work features in private and public collections in Australia.