Melanie Gritzka del Villar (b. 1982) is a transnational visual artist, born of German-Philippine parents, currently based on Boracay Island in the Philippines. Her practice is shaped by an ongoing exploration of ways in which disparate cultural, geographical and environmental elements can coexist. The artist is particularly concerned with the state of living in an increasingly fragmented and vulnerable world. This translates into a sensibility towards cast away objects, forgotten (hi)stories and overlooked surfaces as poetic portals and holders of latent possibilities for alternative narratives. Gritzka del Villar’s mixed media works are palimpsests traced from a dialogue with the stranded materials and the environments of which they are a product. The materials she uses include driftwood found on the shores of Philippine islands, collage, photography and maps.
This past year the artist has been working intensely with the theme of the Spanish galleon trade of the 16th to 19th century, which marked the birth of globalisation. During her 2-month residency at Rimbun Dahan she wants to expand this project and do research on the Asian spice trade in Pre-European era whilst at the same time looking at current waves of migration in Southeast Asia.