Cheryl Salvador

Cheryl Salvador

Cheryl Salvador is a spoken word artist from the Philippines. She is part of White Wall Poetry, a collective of poets who aim to revolutionize and elevate this artform through writing workshops and open mic events. Some of her pieces were included in chapbooks such as “These Spaces,” “Banyo Chronicles,” and “In or Out.” Together with her group, she used to hold monthly writing workshops for those who want to try spoken word. She also organizes and performs at various events in the Philippines.

There’s poetry in tiny moments. It can be as ordinary as a crack in the sidewalk, as warm as a campfire, as bare as an empty street corner, or as marvelous as a sunset. They become fragments of memories and stories that are dying to be told. This is what I hope to capture as I make it a habit to attune myself to my surroundings, which has been a challenge for someone who lives in a busy city and a digital world where all sorts of distractions are just at the tips of my fingers.

My poetry has seen a lot of changing and evolving – from cheesy lines when I was just starting to write, to the exploration of trauma and healing as life forced me to grow up, and to pieces that speak of gender equality and human rights. At this stage, I’m experimenting with the fusion of prose poems and mobile photography to record split-of-a-second connections I make all around me; these, I realized, allow me to feel grounded in the moment. Spoken word poems accompanied by music as a form of storytelling are also in the pipeline to push myself out of my comfort zone.

The road to improving my craft is never-ending. I’m still finding and getting to know my own voice, who it was and what it wants to be. This residency at Rimbun Dahan is my opportunity to give myself the focus and time it desperately needs to do just that and to produce new works from all the inspirations I would get there.

Cheryl is our Southeast Asian Arts Residency artist this August 2019. You can find more of her work on Instagram.

Melanie Gritzka del Villar

Melanie Gritzka del Villar

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.

Her projects can be found on her website. You can also follow her works on her Facebook page and Instragam.

Jel Suarez

Jel Suarez

Jel Suarez (b. 1990) is a visual artist born and based in Manila, Philippines. Her craft is centered on the practice of collage, in which mostly old master works of art and past exhibitions – sourced from old books and catalogues – are intricately cut in an unconscious process. Her fascination with the body of draperies and structures, allows her to form, paint, and sculpt them in her attempt to produce ideas, narratives, dimensions, and landscapes.

The act of manipulating the archives is her way of understanding reproduced images – further distorting its original sense, and fragmenting them into multiple meanings.

Suarez has been exhibiting her works since 2014, with solo exhibitions at Vinyl On Vinyl Gallery, and several group shows under Artinformal Gallery, Underground Gallery, VOV Gallery, Blanc Gallery, etc. She has also participated in art fairs here in Manila, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Her work can be found on her website.

During the first month of my artist residency, I plan to finish my pieces for an upcoming exhibition this June at Underground Gallery (Manila). The themes and focus of my work have shifted since last year’s proposal project – triggered by the current madness and repercussions of the Philippine government’s war on drugs, I seek to explore and intersect a narrative of its influence on our country’s social fabric. I want to develop new works which will look at how it has possibly structured the society’s landscape and perception of power, social class, and human life.

Rimbun Dahan’s living environment is ideal for cathartic work. I think that the cultural and creative dialogue between me and its resident artists will help strengthen my practice and extend the narrative for this project.

Riel Jaramillo Hilario

Riel Jaramillo Hilario

Riel Jaramillo Hilario (b. 1976) is a Filipino visual artist and curator, and was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, which like George Town, is declared a UNESCO Heritage Site. He is a sculptor, painter and an art historian and was the curator for the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo, Rizal.

Hilario’s main body of work are hand-carved wood figures inspired by rebultos, a colonial art form of religious statuary that was introduced from Spain to the Philippines by way of Mexico in the 1600s to the late 1900’s. Hilario uses the rebulto depicting subjects that are “para-psychological” phenomena, such as presences, place memories, popular mythologies and dreams. For the artist this practice fulfills the need “to render visual” that which are unseen. For his residency at Hotel Penaga in the month of August, Hilario will deploy “Place Memory” – a project that attempts to collect and take note of, occluded and manifested presences and psychic histories in and around spaces in George Town.

Hilario is a Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artist Awardee (2012). His work has been shown in several exhibitions in Adelaide, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Basel, Delhi, New York, Paris and Berlin. He has been artist-in-residence in Paris at the Cite Internationale des Arts (2012) and in New York at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2013) as a fellow of the Asian Cultural Council.

Riel was a Hotel Penaga resident for August 2016. For more information on Riel’s work, please visit his website.

Kanakan Balintagos

Kanakan Balintagos

Kanakan Balintagos (meaning ‘hunter of truth’), formerly known as Auraeus Solito, is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning Palawán-Filipino filmmaker and playwright. He comes from a lineage of Shaman-Kings from the Palawán tribe of South Palawan. He grew up in the city of Manila and after graduating from the Philippine Science High school studied Theatre at the University of the Philippines, where he received a degree in Theater Arts. One of the leading independent filmmakers in the Philippines, he was recently chosen in Take 100, The Future of Film which presents an emerging generation of the most talented filmmakers around the world. This book, published by Phaidon Press, New York, is a survey featuring 100 exceptional emerging film directors from around the world who have been selected by 10 internationally prominent film festival directors.

His first feature film Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) won 15 international awards including 3 awards at the Berlinale (The Teddy award, International Jury Prize at the Kinderfest and Special Mention from the Children’s Jury of the Kinderfest). It is also the first Philippine film nominated for Best Foreign film at the Independents’ Spirit Awards in the US and has been shown in more than 50 film festivals around the world.

Tuli (Circumcision), his second feature film won Best Picture and Best Director at the Digital Competition at the 2005 CineManila Film Festival; won the NETPAC Jury Prize at the Berlinale, International Forum for New Cinema and the Best International feature Film at Outfest in Los Angeles. Solito is the first Filipino to make it to the premiere independent film festival in the world, the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, USA, two years in a row (with The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros and Tuli). His films have been screened in major festivals around the world including Berlin, Sundance, Montreal, Pusan, Toronto and Rotterdam.

Solito completed a screenplay development program at the Binger Film Lab in Amsterdam.

His film Busong (Palawan Fate) was selected at the prestigious Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2011, and it was awarded Best Director, Best Sound Design, and Best Original Music Score at Cinemalaya 2011. His film Busong was also shown at the 2012 National Geographic All Roads Film Festival in Washington, D.C.,where it was awarded Grand Prize, the Merata Mita “Best of Stories” Award.

In 2013 he adopted his tribal-spirit name Kanakan Balintagos after his uncle, who is a shaman in Palawan, dreamt about him. He said in an interview, “In his dream, he saw me in the middle of a sandbar holding a camera that turned into a blowgun. I became a kanakan … a hunter. Suddenly, great waves appeared from both sides of the sandbar, but I remained unharmed, untouched.”

In 2014 his film Esprit de Corps, based on the play he wrote when he was seventeen, won three awards at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival, including Best Director.

In 2015 he was awarded 1st Prize in the prestigious Palanca Awards, Filipino Division, Dulang Ganap Ang Haba (Full Length Play in Filipino), for his literary work “Mga Buhay na Apoy” and in 2016 won the Gawad Buhay ( Philippines’ Stage Awards) for Best Original Script for the same play.

For more information on Kanakan and his work, visit his website.


Dancing in Place 2015

Dancing in Place 2015

DIP’15_FB Event Page

Dancing up a tree. On a sculpture. Underwater. Underground.
12 contemporary dance works in the tranquil tropical garden at Rimbun Dahan. Family friendly, FREE ENTRY for all!

Saturday 31 January
Sunday 1 February [same program on both days]

Rimbun Dahan
Km 27 Jalan Kuang
Selangor 48050. MAP

Photos below by our official photographers, Huneid Tyeb and James Quah. Click here for more photos of Dancing in Place 2015.

Mermaid meets monkey from classical myth, in the duet ‘Same Space’ by Shahrin Johry from Maya Dance Theatre [Singapore] and Phittaya Phaefuang [Thailand].

Colours lead you on a journey of rebirth, in ‘Dust to Dust’ with Rithaudin Abdul Kadir, Foo Chiwei and Pinar Sinka.

Three guys and three beds will always be a work-in-progress, in ‘Asing-Asing’ by Lee Ren Xin

Best friends forever and partners in crime, in ‘Then She Simply Disappears’, performed by Nurulakmal Abdul Wahid’s students from University Pendidikan Sultan Idris.

Joelle Jacinto dances through Jack Kek’s vision of a German city, in this excerpt ‘Strasse, Stadt’ from ‘A Wanderer in Berlin’.

The dancers of Batari Shakti let down their hair in a ritual purification with the sacred number ‘Seven’, with choreographer Alla Azura Abal Abas as their guide.

Mia Cabalfin and Rhosam Prudenciado Jr. from the Philippines welcome you to the Penang heritage house, with ‘Housewarming’.


A group of friends who might just be pretending to be dancers, choreographed by Leng Poh Gee.

What are we apart from names and numbers? Judimar Hernandez, Gan Chih Pei & James Kan explore ‘Existence.’

Indian classical dance stars Rathimalar Govindarajoo and January Low in their intimate duet ‘rehab’.

Selipar Dance Troupe turns every place into a stage, under the leadership of Loke Soh Kim.

Alisya Razman Adam and Chong Hoei Tzin combine youth and skill in the romantic solos from ‘Short Stories’, choreographed by Patrick Suzeau [USA]



++ Lim Sae Min takes everyone in a circle, hand-to-hand! [Saturday only]

Dancing in Place is a joint project of Rimbun Dahan and MyDance Alliance.

For more information, contact Bilqis Hijjas, Producer, +6017 310 3769 or

Please note that Dancing in Place is not a wheelchair-accessible event.

Carlo Gernale

Carlo Gernale

Visual Arts Resident, 2013

Artist’s statement:

carlo_gernaleCarlo “Caloy” Gernale (b. 1979) is a Filipino visual artist based in Southern Tagalog, Philippines. As a contemporary social-realist artist, he attempts to articulate not only his personal views, but more importantly, the collective stand and the national democratic aspiration of the marginalized.

As an artist, Gernale is driven by the past and present events that mould Philippine history; he also has a penchant for indigenous and contemporary myths, fables, and banter, and tries to incorporate them into his works of art. Guided by his socio-political leaning, he attempts to come up with a cohesive body of works that are visually and semiotically potent.

Gernale studied Bachelor of Fine Arts in Philippine Women’s University. In 2006, he mounted his first solo exhibit “Ispup.” His most recent exhibit titled “Allegories and Allergies” was held in May 2013 at West Gallery, Philippines.

Dancing in Place 2010

Dancing in Place 2010

dip3-8pm,7-8 August 2010
Entrance free
to the general public.

In the midst of a 14-acre indigenous Malaysian garden, and in the shade of contemporary and traditional architecture, 13 Malaysian and international choreographers presented a collection of site-specific contemporary dance works for Dancing in Place.

The 2010 theme for Dancing in Place was Cross-Pollination. It encouraged choreographers to consider how difference – working with artists from other disciplines, working with people from other cultures or abilities, or working in new environments – creates the potential for rich and vigorous hybridities.

Performers at Dancing in Place this year included Kristine Nilsen Oma (Norway), Elysa Wendi (Singapore), Donna Miranda (Philippines) and Scarlet Yu (Hong Kong), as well nine choreographers from Malaysia including Rathimalar Govindarajoo, Gan Chih Pei, Nurulakmal Abdul Wahid, Muhaini Ahmad, Leng Poh Gee, Fahmi Fadzil and January Low.


In front of 60 turns

‘In Spirit’, staged at Rimbun Dahan by choreographer Rathimalar Govindarajoo on the lawn in front of the art work ‘Sixty Turns.’


Time Item
3pm Arrival & introduction
3.15pm DSC_0365b_JPGThe Campus ThoughtChoreographed by Leng Poh Gee & Kathyn Tan Chai Chen
Performed by Lim Siew Ling, Lim Hooi Ming, Lim Shin Hui, Tan Shiao Por & Pan May Tzy
A work by LAPAR LabAt the same time we are doing this particular performance, a batch of new graduates of the dance degree from University of Malaya is celebrating their graduation. We sincerely dedicate this performance to those who are ready to embark upon their journey into professional dance society, and wish them luck.
3.30pm DSC_0392_jpg13 Knots to HomeCreated and performed by Scarlet Yu Mei Wah

Having left her home in Hong Kong ten years ago to live in Singapore, Scarlet Yu has moved from one room to another, one house to another, in a foreign land that has accepted her as an adopted child. In the past ten years, she has made exactly thirteen trips back home to Hong Kong, only to feel more and more distant from the place she once regarded as home.

3.45pm Dreams InterruptedChoreographed by Elysa Wendi (Singapore)
Performed by Ren Wei ChenInspired by the Kun Opera Peony Pavilion, choreographer Elysa Wendi
investigates the idea of intangibility and the power of dreams in our life. Dreams
interrupted is performed in a series of 5 short segments. Like a dream that happens over a number of days, the audience will slowly find out the full story at the end.
3.54pm DSC_0432_JPGIn SpiritChoreographed by Ramli Ibrahim, reworked by Rathimalar Govindarajoo
Performed by Michelle Chang, Revathi Tamilselvam, Sivagamavalli, Tan Mei Mei, Divya Nair, and Rathimalar Govindarajoo.An ode to women who celebrate the rhythm of life.
4.15pm KapayapaanChoreographed and performed by Wong Oi Min & Gan Chih Pei
Music by Razali bin Abd. RahimA piece about the celebration of life, conservation of nature and cultivation of compassion.
4.40pm DSC_0485_JPG DSC_0465_JPGSimilar

Choreographed by Nurulakmal Abdul Wahid
Performed by Ahmad Zaki B. Mu Salleh @ Musleh, Muhaini Ahmad & Nurulakmal Abdul Wahid

A man wears women’s clothing, but he is not a woman. No matter how much he imitates her lovely or sexy movements, he can only be similar. He is only an outline. She fills in the gaps.

4.55pm ChimeraCreated by Kim Kyungmi, Sasha Ratnam & Mathieu Castel
Performed by Kim Kyungmi
Music by Mathieu CastelIn the quirky circle of life, we begin as simple cells awakened by meeting each other. Moulded by genetics over which we have no control, we evolve and mutate through human socialisation, finally leaving nothing behind. No predictions, rules or even will can exist in this cycle of energy. The same clone but different mutants, we are born and fade away within this energy of evolution.
5.10pm Divide & ConquerChoreographed by Fahmi Fadzil
Performed by audience volunteersMalaysians love polls. Malaysians love being together. Let’s see if this “poll” performance can keep people together. Or not.
5.20pm Intermission
5.40pm SweetChoreographed & performed by January Low
Music by Reza Salleh
6.05pm AchilotCoordinated by Elaine Pedley
Assisted by Muhammad Syaffiq bin Hambali
Choreographed and performed by the young participants of the Rimbun Dahan Dance WorkshopThe workshop is based on basic movements pieced together by the kids through
games and exercises. The focus is on play, hence achilot, a Malay term for various children’s games.
6.30pm Biji IIChoreographed by Chai Vivan
Performed by Fione Chia Yan Wei, Caren Yap Chai Wen, Denny Donius, Chew Sie Theng, Sufi Asyraf b. Mohd Azman, Woo Yan Ten & Anna Lee See Wan.Something small springs into growth. From the seed comes life.
6.50pm Anything less is less than a reckless actChoreographed and performed by Donna Miranda
Dramaturgy by Angelo V. Suarez
Featuring (on video) PJ Rebullida & Marah ArcillaTo go to the theatre, to go shopping, to watch a dance performance or the latest Hollywood movie—any aesthetic experience is informed by a decision-making process. This entails a necessary foreclosure: to choose one experience means not experiencing another. With the use of two rooms that cannot be experienced by the audience simultaneously—one with a video featuring two dancers in a duet, another where Miranda talks about the video’s context—Anything less is less than a reckless act allows room for participation. This in turn exposes the futility of the concept of participation in theatre, a prohibitive system designed to distinguish performer from audience. To risk the audience’s subjectivity by giving them a measure of activity is to risk theatre itself.
7.40pm DSC_0549_JPG DSC_0584_JPGMarilyn Monroe’s last 20 minutes before committing suicide

Created and performed by Kristine Nilsen Oma
Video art by Kok Siew Wai

The work is an experiential exploration of the Buddhist concept that earthly desires can lead to enlightenment. The work is a response to meeting a whole new environment and culture, and a personal quest to understand both my own desires and how to make them come from a higher perspective. In the context of the Third World certain neuroses becomes ridiculous. Yet they were created as a response to the Western world I have lived in all my life. How do I cope in the Third World? How will my neuroses behave? Is there a control in this experiment?

This last item is not appropriate for children.

Artists in Dancing in Place 2010 observing the performances from their green room.

Artists in Dancing in Place 2010 observing the performances from their green room.

Lynyrd Arwyn Paras

Lynyrd Arwyn Paras


Painter Lynyrd Arwyn Paras from the Philippines stayed for a short residency at Rimbun Dahan from January until the end of March 2009.

Lynyrd Arwyn Villanueva Paras (b. 1982), graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Technological University of the Philippines. Since then his work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the Philippines and Malaysia. A finalist of the Philip Morris Philippine Art awards, Lynyrd also took second place in the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence competition in 2007, and received the grand prize in the First GSES Museum National Painting Competition in 2004. This is Lynyrd’s second arts residency, following a six-month stint at the Blanc Compound in Mandaluyong City at the end of 2008.

Lynyrd will return to Kuala Lumpur to take up the TARP (Taksu Artist Residency Program) in preparation for his fourth solo exhibition, at Taksu Gallery in September 2009.

Donna Miranda

Resident Choreographer March-June 2007

Artist-in-residence at Rimbun Dahan from March to June 2007, Donna created new performance piece bringing together local Malaysian dancers, video and sound artists to explore the idea of waiting, passing time, momentum and interruption in Extended Periods of Waiting, which was performed on June 8 2007 at The Annexe Central Market. The work featured live sound by SiCKL, video projection by Saiful Razman and Au Sow Yee, lighting by Roman Cruz and performance by Donna Miranda, Bilqis Hijjas, Yuka Tanaka, Louise Yow Sing-Hwa, Low Shee Hoe, Shaifuddin Mamat and Chan Seau Huvi.


The trio section from Extended Periods of Waiting was performed again as part of the Tari! 07 festival at ASWARA in July 2007.

During her stay, Donna also created I Will Think About It, a contribution to the 2007 Art for Nature exhibition in collaboration with visual artist Saiful Razman, and featuring Poodien. She also conducted a workshop in contemporary dance, creative process and free movement improvisation at the Annexe Central Market in June 2007.

Donna and Poodien creating I Will Think About It.

Donna and Poodien creating I Will Think About It.

Donna received dance training as national government scholar of the Philippine High School for the Arts, pursuing professional practice and further training with Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater, Myra Beltran’s Dance Forum and specialized training in contemporary dance at the 2005 DanceWEB Europe Scholarship Programme, in Vienna, Austria. She has since been actively involved in multimedia projects that explore new possibilities through works that combine contemporary dance, new media, fashion, physical theater, spoken word and sound. In 2000, she co-founded Green Papaya Art Projects, building a research platform for contemporary dance in Manila through its Anatomy Projects (AP+). Her solo ‘Beneath Polka-dotted Skies’ recently received 2007 Jury Prize Award in the Yokohama Solo X Duo Competition in Japan.