MERCY 101 [Edition 1]

1 April 2016, 5:00 PM, Opening Reception
29 February to 20 November 2016
Heritage Room, Ateneo de Manila Grade School

As the title suggests, MERCY 101 explores the fundamental ideas of mercy from various perspectives from the Christian church leaders and mystics to other religious thinkers from other religious traditions.  Quotations are pre-selected with the guidance of the Christian Living Education (CLE) year levels coordinators and AGS formation team in order to appropriate these (quotations) to the students’ level of religious education and personal development. The title also offers varied, multiple and expanding descriptions of the word ‘mercy’ as hinted by the number ‘101’.

The impetus of the design and approach of art project MERCY 101 is the existing set-up of Ateneo Grade School (AGS) Heritage Room. Aside from its current display of trophies/awards and paintings of AGS Headmasters, the heritage room also exhibited temporary shows such as the photographic display for the launch of the Year of Mercy in April 2015 as well as the works by the AGS students from their various classes such as the decoupage of Madonna and Child.

The set-up of and display at the heritage room have two implications for the art project. First, this project relates to the year of mercy and appropriates the theme of mercy. Secondly, it involves the AGS students as well as incorporates the reflection on mercy and production of postcards within their respective CLE and Art/SiPag classes.

The theme of mercy and the collaborative approach of the art project are suitable for artist/priest Jason K. Dy, SJ. Dy’s creative practice involves both community and studio based responses to “the religious and cultural circumstances, locations and events” (Liverpool Hope University, 2014). In this project, he is responsive to the Catholic Church’s extraordinary jubilee year of mercy as well as investigates how idea of mercy is reflected upon by the AGS students and how they appropriated it in their own circumstances. Together with the Office of ADMU Vice President for Basic Education, AGS Formation Team and the other collaborators, he intends that this consideration of the idea of mercy will facilitate a personal reflection of mercy as well as a concrete response of mercy towards others.

MERCY 101 (Edition 1) envisions this particular project as a beginning of serial collaborative art projects that explores the concept of mercy with various communities. Due to the limited perspective of an individual, the perspectives of others in community are encouraged to facilitate a growing and in-depth understanding of the word and the concept of mercy. Selected quotations on mercy are hand-drawn, collaged or handwritten by the artist and reproduced into postcards. The AGS students are given a postcard each and they are invited to share and send it to somebody outside the AGS community. Though the content is basically textual in nature and in its visual depiction, these selected quotations are borne out of the personal experiences and reflections of the authors, mystics, and religious leaders. The personal and cultural contexts of these quotations are discussed during the CLE classes. As a response to these quotations, AGS students are invited to send the postcards to others outside of AGS as well as to make a personal statement about mercy (reflected during the CLE classes and produced during the Art/SiPag classes) as an act of sharing ideas about mercy.

In the exhibition, the modules created by the CLE and Art/SiPag teachers, guided by the coordinators are displayed along with the postcards made by the students to explicate the learning process of experience-reflection-action that facilitated the creative and thoughtful product of more than 3,500 postcards. The installation of these postcard are likened to walls but not solid to propose both the composite description of ideas of mercy and the openness to accommodate more ideas about it for dialogue, discourse and deepening.

AM+DG 2016

* * *
In collaboration with Ateneo de Manila VP for Basic Education Office, Ateneo de Manila Grade School (AGS) Administration, Faculty, Staff, Grade School Students 1 to 6,  and Parents (SY 2015-16), AGS Christian Living Education, AGS Art & SiPag Department, AGS Formation, AGS Facilities Management Office, AGS Computer and Media Center

Special thanks to Fr. Anthony Pabayo, SJ, Mr. Jose Antonio Salvador, Mrs. Bernardita Yacaba, AGS MERCY101 Committee, ADMU Photo Duplication Services, Jesuit Residence, Ateneo Art Gallery, Ateneo Fine Arts Program, ADMU Communication & Public Relations