Tuesday 22 November 2016

The British Council in the Philippines and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are launching a partnership that aims to contribute to more liveable and creative cities. 

The Art for Urban Change project includes the creation of site-specific artworks on pumping stations found along Pasig River, a traveling art exhibition, and the creation of a public art advisory group. 

The first work will be unveiled this 23 November with the help of local artist, Leeroy New and collaborator Janno Abenoja. It will be on a pumping station at the corner of Burke St. and Muelle del Banco Nacional, in the neighborhood of Escolta, Manila. 

Pumping stations are vital in the city’s flood management as they regulate the water levels of Pasig River and sewers. Pasig River is historically an important transportation route and water source in Metro Manila but has since been declared overly polluted by ecologists. 

‘As countries around the world grapple with the complex challenges of urbanisation, the evidence is clear that culture and creativity can play an essential role in making cities more inclusive, sustainable and economically vibrant. We are delighted to be working with MMDA on this new project along the Pasig River,’ remarks Nicholas Thomas, British Council Country Director.

The traveling exhibition features works from Rivers of the World, a global project that enables young people to explore their local environment. Six art pieces created by students from Marikina and local art collective, Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, will be displayed in selected Pasig ferry stations from November 2016 to 2017. The artworks were first shown at the Totally Thames Festival in London last September 2016.

With problems such as traffic congestion and lack of public spaces, cooperation and creative ideas on improving urban liveability are more needed than ever. 

‘MMDA welcomes the British Council as a partner in our effort to revive Pasig River as a place that people can enjoy for commuting, recreation, and leisure. In addition to restoring ferry transport and preserving environmental quality, it’s important to celebrate the river as part of our city’s culture. We are excited to offer artists an opportunity to inspire citizens to return to the river,’ shares Julia Nebrija, MMDA’s Assistant General Manager for Operations.

Leeroy New is an artist-designer whose works address the issue of art and art practitioners’ invisibility in the Philippines by cultivating a language for large scale public art. New, originally trained as a sculptor, has tried everything from production design for film to working with fashion designers, to creating 3D mock ups for commercial purposes. For this project, he is collaborating with Janno Abenoja under the design studio, LabNew.

The Art for Urban Change project is also supported by Davies Paints.


Malaya del Rosario | Head of Arts and Creative Industries

Notes to Editor

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.

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