Bapor Tabo(o)
Saturday, 30 September, 2017
for Art Licks Weekend 2017

Bapor Tabo(o) is a one-day moving exhibition. It’s set on a boat flowing and gliding through the locks, along the London canals, showcasing live performances by live artists, groups, contemporary dancers and movers, musical performances and spoken word. The boat’s façade is strewn with artworks flying in the form of flags, posters and banners by RAGE collective and artists whose works deal with political issues and concerns, serving as a stage for live works and performances to take place. Adopting a kind of canal-bus stop schedule, it moors at designated points along the route, allowing for new performers to replace those who have finished their work. To conclude the event, the boat shall moor at an arranged place where the public is welcome to join in conversations and discussions shared with food and drinks, with a possibility to join impromptu musical jams and performances.

Babor Tabo (Tagalog, Filipino language) translates literally as Boat Dipper. It was used as a symbolism by Philippines’s national hero in his revolutionary literary novels during the Spanish colonisation to depict Philippine society at the time. It is about social classes wherein the rich and the educated class ‘illustrados’ are in the upper part and the workers, low class locals or ‘indios’ are in the lower part where the condition is horrifying and utterly inhumane with no access to the comfort and privileges of the upper part.

Bapor Tabo(o) is an avenue to address this divide and highlight issues of exclusivity and accessibility inherent in viewing or consumption of art and culture, which also mirrors the societal condition we live in. By traversing through the canals, the exhibition comes to people who wouldn’t have otherwise seen it or heard of the festival. It aspires to connect to an audience who may also be adverse or intimidated by an art gallery set-up or are generally dismissive and cynical of art shows or live art.

Bapor Tabo(o) creates a potential for chance encounters, providing the public to see something out of the ordinary while strolling around the canal, going about day to day life. The ephemeral aspect of live art adds more to it as the experience could not be replicated again or be visited in the same spot.

The format of the exhibition is a response on the scarcity of places for exhibitions, in a process of finding solutions to utilise different ways of showcasing art events and encounters. It is an exercise of exploring alternatives not just to situate artworks and projects, but one that also widens accessibility and interaction with a broader audience, as there is definitely a need to find ways to bridge from our closed groups, to try and cross the ever widening social divides.

Poster Design by June Thanyawan