Critic John Alexis Balaguer of art and design magazine Kanto writes about the CCP Thirteen Artists Awards exhibition and features The Weighing of the Heart. Thank you very much!

“Catherine Sarah Young’s sculptures of human hearts, The Weighing of the Heart (2022) are cast from the ashes of the Australian bushfires in 2019-2020 and are exhibited wall-bound in grid-form, creating emphasis on the iterative subject. Referencing the Egyptian scene of the weighing of Imhotep’s heart against a feather, the works touch upon notions of grief and loss, and our emotional memories from crises. “The climate emergency will continue to be one of the biggest challenges of our time,” Young shares, “The arts have an important role in creating inclusive spaces for us to process our collective grief with the damage to the planet and to vulnerable communities worldwide.”

“The artist-awardees of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists all exhibit critical perspectives on contemporary challenges in society, from invoking socio-political histories, critiquing structures and systems, listening and giving voice to minorities, exercising climate consciousness, and providing avenues for sharing interpersonal realities. In this time of crisis, one might ask how art might provide reflections, solutions, safe spaces, or possibilities in reimagining a new world–a daunting task for the art community, no doubt, yet readily acceded by thirteen young artists of the new contemporary. With this award and exhibition, more than the showcase is the show of cases, that the world might be presented as it is, so we are able to see art and life as no different. “This year’s artists call into question the very notion of presence,” curator Shireen Seno declares, with a radical evaluation, “this is a show about the gaps, the lapses, and the others that characterize our time.”

Read the article here.

Balaguer, J.A. “CCP Thirteen Artists 2021: Presence and Possibilities.” Kanto magazine. 29 March 2022.

(Manila, the Philippines)—Last March 10, the Cultural Center of the Philippines held the official awarding ceremony for the 2021 Thirteen Artists Awards.

I am so grateful to have been selected for this cohort. And even more grateful that my parents went and accepted the award on my behalf.

Yay, Mom and Dad! Mom beat COVID-19 earlier this year, so this was awesome.

The Thirteen Artists Awards is the oldest government award for Filipino artists. Present at the ceremony are Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Chairperson Margarita Moran-Floirendo, Trustee Attorney Lorna Kapunan, and past Thirteen Artists Awardees Nap Jamir and Gerry Tan.

The ceremony was followed by the opening of the exhibition of the artists, which was curated by past Thirteen Artists Awardee Shireen Seno.

These amazing trophies are designed by 2006 Thirteen Artist Awardee Mac Valdezco. I’m thrilled to have one and look forward to seeing it in person on my next visit.

Thank you so much to the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Visual Arts and Museum Division team!

Photos by Orly Daquipil and courtesy of the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division

Brian Walker of US-based podcast Dreams Not Memes interviewed me this month about climate change and art.

Dreams Not Memes is a podcast curated by Brian Walker of A Day Without Love. The podcast is about going more in depth about the ins and outs of being an independent creator, collaborator, activist or entrepreneur. This podcast will include 1000 interviews from people around the world and their stories about navigating the struggles associated with finding your own vision.

Check it out on Spotify here. Subscribe here.

Thank you for having me!

It’s that time to review another pandemic year that came and went in the blink of an eye. Here is how my 2021 rolled:

I became part of TeamHB6 of Homeward Bound and am on this amazing leadership journey with women in STEMM, with some fun highlights such as being a jury at Kids Care about Climate Change. I became a Creative Peacebuilder for The Peace Studio and as part of a collaboration, I was part of the teaching team at LunART Summer Arts Camp in Madison, Wisconsin.

I did my hybrid art residency at Sydney Observatory, focusing on Mars in relation to my PhD research.

I wrote a chapter in Communicating in the Anthropocene: Intimate Relations, was featured in E-Squared Magazine, wrote a post for the #Healing edition of The New Alphabet at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and designed the book cover for the Handbook on Migration with one of my photographs from my 2016 art residency at Plan International.

I spoke at/was interviewed by Climate Designers, Occupational Hazards, Our Entangled Future at University of Oslo, Transformations Community, IECA, AusSTS, ASLE, ICAS, 4S Toronto, SLSA, and Culture2.

I exhibited at Memoirs of the Abyss at SixtyEight Art Institute Copenhagen curated by Malou Solfjeld, and thanks to them Arctic Ice Chess has been played at Copenhagen and Aarhus. 

I exhibited at Multispecies Visionary Institute in Berwick and did a related workshop at Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Newcastle (UK).

I’m a recipient of the 13 Artists Awards in the Philippines this year. 

I have a piece for  “The Future We Want”, a digital art campaign by C40 Cities, a global network for mayors taking urgent action to confront the climate crisis.

Finally, I have taken up the great pandemic hobbies of piano, kayaking, and sailing. Also, no more hair, hurray!

For all the curators, artists, scientists, teachers, makers, peacebuilders, technicians, sailors, delivery people and others who helped to push all this work forward in these challenging times, thank you very much! Being productive and healthy in a pandemic is a gift and I hope to be better next year. Here’s to a healing 2022!

Last Friday, the second game of Arctic Ice Chess was played at the Danish School of Education, University of Århus. The game was between Jonas Andreas Lysgaard, Associate Professor at University of Århus, and Keith Brander, lead author for the fisheries and marine ecosystem sections of the fourth IPCC report, for which he and his team were awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. I watched the video from Sydney and received comments from the indefatigable and amazing Malou Solfjeld.

From Malou:

Jonas had a helping hand from his colleague Flemming, who gave him chess advice and contributed to the overall conversation. It was interesting to see the two of them work together, especially for tactile reasons, since Flemming is almost blind, so he had to feel the ice and the board in a perhaps even more intense way than the usual players do.

Keith came to Denmark in 1996 to work as Dr. Emeritus at the National Institute of Aquatic Resources, section for Oceans and Arctic, until he retired in 2012. Last year he obtained citizenship and he is now member of the pan-European political party VOLT.

Arctic Ice Chess game 2 was organized by Malou Solfjeld, Malou Juelskjær and SixtyEight Art Institute

Result: Keith won partly because his breath heated up his pieces and made them slide forward by themselves.

I watched the game here from Sydney as I cast another batch of bushfire ash heart sculptures which made their conversation on the climate emergency even more meaningful. Highlights of the game included the discussion about our finite planet, custodianship and sustainability of land, and how we cannot change opinions but rather behavior.

How fitting that this happened in the middle of #COP26, and how happy am I that this project is catalyzing so many wonderful conversations and connecting so many people from this project’s initial sketches in Manila, Beijing, Vienna, and Sydney. Hope you enjoyed playing and thank you all very much!

Images by Malou Solfjeld

I’ll be co-facilitating a workshop at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in the UK with Sabina Sallis, with her in Newcastle in the centre and me here in Sydney. Register here:

#sabinasallis #catherinesarahyoung


Text via @balticgateshead

Session 8: Reciprocal Respiration (RR) with Sabina Sallis and Catherine Sarah Young of Multispecies Visionary Institute

Saturday 6 November 13.00-15.00

FREE, Booking essential

Sabina Sallis will be running three workshops during the Feminist School of Painting continuing the ongoing activities of the Multispecies Visionary Institute (MVI). MVI is a project that seeks to explore how creative and ecological practices can be combined to generate collective visions for flourishing futures.

The Latin root of the word inspiration, ‘inspirare’, means ‘to breathe into’. In these workshops, you are invited to consider breathing as an act of exchange with the more-than-human-world and explore the creative act of ‘breathing life’ into something.

Sabina will introduce present elements of her research into aesthetics of sustainability and sustainable land practices. Catherine Sarah Young will introduce her research and works in relation to the Australian bushfire crisis and Climate Change and invite participants to make their own ink. This will be followed by a choice of practical activity interweaved with breath exercises: either botanical ink making, free flow drawing, or the opportunity to colour-in drawings from the MVI collection of ‘the Swarms’.

Update: This was so much fun, thank you for having us!

Stoked for one of my MFA projects from the School of Visual Arts back in my Fulbright days (i.e. my youth) to grow and have a home at C40’s global art campaign! Thank you!

P.S. My favorites are the jabberwocky, the seahorses, and the pegasus. What’s yours?

Text from C40 Cities:

C40 has teamed up with a collective of incredible artists who have unique visions of the world they want to live in. Their art challenges us to imagine a future where people and biodiversity thrive, and cities are more resilient and equitable.

The next artist in this series is Catherine Sarah Young, an award-winning artist, designer, and writer. Catherine uses her background in molecular biology, fine art, and design to create interdisciplinary and experimental artworks on the environment.

In her piece “Rorsketch”, Catherine reimagines our cities as places where air pollution is a thing of the past, where residents can enjoy clear blue skies and breathe clean air.

Catherine said: “Let’s make cities that unlock the imagination of its citizens for hopeful, inclusive futures. With this piece, I turn the sky into a canvas for possibilities. We often see patterns in clouds in a phenomenon that neuroscientists call pareidolia. The title of this piece is called Rorsketch—a portmanteau of “Rorschach” and “sketch”. When we feel down, let’s look up and see the universe that clouds offer. It’s fun, free, and for everyone! What do you see in these clouds?”

About the artist: Catherine has collaborated with researchers, industries, and non-profit organisations most recently in China, Austria, and the Amazon rainforest. She is a Scientia scholar at UNSW Sydney working on climate change and sustainability, an Obama Leader for Asia-Pacific, and part of Team HB6 of Homeward Bound for Antarctica. Most recently she is a recipient of the Thirteen Artist Awards in the Philippines.

(Copenhagen)—Thank you Niels Heilberg for hosting the first Arctic Ice Chess tournament in your boat, the beautiful MS Arno, as well as these first images and video! The game was played by Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen, lecturer at the Institute for Strategy at the Danish Ministry of Defence Academy, and the environmental activist and candidate for mayor, Gorm Gunnarsen. The tournament, played in between Denmark’s Climate Week and Art Week, was a draw, which feels very metaphorical of the Arctic crisis. Thank you, Niels, as well as curator Malou Solfjeld and Copenhagen arts organisation SixtyEight Art Institute, for supporting this work. It takes a village! I’m happy for the conversations this work is generating, and look forward to future tournaments that  SixtyEight ArtInstitute will be hosting in the weeks to come. Follow their IG for more!

Text and images by Niels Heilberg:
Art week ombord 🎨🌍🧊

Vi var i går vært for kunstværket Arctic Ice Chess skabt af den filippinske kunstner @catherinesarahyoung. Under kurator @malousolfjelds kyndige vejledning spillede klimaordfører for Enhedslisten Gorm Anker Gunnarsen med forsvarets Arktis-ekspert Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen et spil om klimaet og verdens stigende vandstande, altimens skakbrikkerne smeltede og der blev diskuteret politik og udvekslet erfaringer. 

UPDATE: Hvis nogen vil være vært til Arctic Ice Chess, så kontakt @malousolfjeld @68artinstitute @artweekcph @heilbergs

A quick shout out to my friends in Copenhagen who are organizing the Arctic Ice Chess tournament starting tomorrow! This is the first time this game will be played, and fittingly, it will premiere in one of the Arctic Council nations. I am so thrilled this is happening and happy it is being cared for by curator Malou Solfjeld and the team at SixtyEight Art Institute. Art can provide engaging spaces for us to discuss challenging things, and so I hope you have fun with the game while discussing serious climate issues in the Arctic and beyond. 

Kudos as well to the previous residencies who hosted me as I was developing this game, namely China Residencies and Saari Residence, and the UNSW Design Futures Lab for their assistance as I was shipping the work.

On Saturday 25 September, SixtyEight invites you to view a chess tournament on the subject of climate change, which will be initiated in the Copenhagen Harbour; and as part of the curatorial research project Memoirs of the Abyss: Three Ecologies and More, curated by Malou Solfjeld.

The first Arctic Ice Chess match will take place on the prow of the MS Arno, docked at Langebrogade 1C, Saturday 25 Sept. at 12.00-14.00.

The artwork Arctic Ice Chess is a project created by the Philippine artist Catherine Sarah Young; where plastic toy soldiers are frozen in ice cubes and take up positions as standard chess pieces; and where the ice pieces melt as this classic strategy game unfolds throughout the playing period.

The first game will be played by Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen, lecturer at the Institute for Strategy at the Danish Ministry of Defence Academy; versus the environmental activist and candidate for mayor, Gorm Gunnarsen. And as the melting chess pieces move throughout their match, both will discuss issues related to the world’s rising sea levels and geopolitical and economic interests emerging in the Arctic region.

Honored and grateful to be in the latest issue of @artplusmag together with the other amazing 13 Artists Awardees of 2021! Thank you to the Cultural Center of the Philippines for facilitating the interview. Manila friends, please do grab a copy!

Inside Art+ Magazine Issue 74: Raul Lebajo

Cultural Center of the Philippines announces the 13 Artists Awardees for 2021. The awardees are Allan Balisi, Nice Buenaventura, Gino Bueza, Mars Bugaoan, Rocky Cajigan, Geloy Concepcion, Patrick Cruz, Ian Carlo Jaucian, KoloWn, Czar Kristoff, Lou Lim, Ryan Villamael and Catherine Sarah Young.

Read the full story inside Art+ Magazine Issue 74. Art+ Magazine is available on Shopee, Art Plus webstore, and at National Bookstore, Fully Booked, and Rustan’s branches nationwide.