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The immigrant experience

Patrick Cruz exhibits work at Plug In Institute

   Patrick Cruz
Arist Patrick Cruz installs his art pieces in preparation for his exhibit. Photo by Sarah Nesbitt

The Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art launched their spring program with an exhibition by award winning Filipino-Canadian artist, Patrick Cruz on Thursday, April 13. The exhibit, entitled Titig Kayumanggi (Brown Gaze) is Cruz’s first major exhibition in Winnipeg.

Patrick Cruz who is known for his bold gestural style and bright colors has transformed one of Plug IN’s galleries into an immersive environment. On Saturday, April 15 Patrick Cruz was on hand to give visitors a tour of the exhibition in Filipino (Tagalog), followed by an artist talk in English.

“The exhibition… is a culmination of my experience living as an immigrant, as a person of colour, and as an artist who tries to understand our world today,” said Cruz who immigrated to Canada in 2005.

Animated patterned paintings line the walls and floor of the Plug In ICA street front gallery, enveloping the space and its visitors. A personal history of immigration from the Philippines to Canada is a story traced on the surface of Cruz’s canvasses, made visible through the accumulation of line, colour and gesture, stacked and amassed into an immersive installation. Titig Kayumanggi is the artist’s gaze – his perspective stylistically melded into a densely cluttered and unified world of painted lines and bold colours, collaged videos, and stacked objects.

In 2015, Cruz won the 17th Annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition. He has shown across North America, Europe and Asia with recent exhibitions at Projet Pangee, Montreal; Centre A, Vancouver; Project 20, Quezon City, Philippines; and Multiplex, Portland. His work can be seen currently at the Art Gallery of Alberta, and was presented in 2016 at the Mexico Material Art Fair. In addition to his solo work, Cruz has collaborated on numerous occasions including screenings and performances. RBC, TD Bank, and private collectors in Manila, Hongkong, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Florida have all collected his works.

On Thursday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m., Casey Mecija, a scholar, musician and performance artist, will perform Psychic Materials amidst the immersive space of Patrick Cruz’s Titig Kayumanggi exhibit. Drawing on her background as a musician in the orchestral pop band Ohbijou and recent solo projects, Mecija uses a mash up of video and GIF art, performance, sound and her academic training to meditate on “the queer dynamics of diaspora.”

The Titig Kayumanggi exhibition continues its run at the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, 460 Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, until June 4, 2017. For more detailed information on the exhibition visit

External Packaging Patrick Cruz

External Packaging, digital collage by Patrick Cruz