Romson Regarde Bustillo | More than can be held  

What Maria knows to be true (2018), Mixed Media on Paper, Collagraph, Serigraph, Drypoint, Etching, Pen, Ink. Photo: Art and Soul Photography

May 31, 2019- August 10, 2019

Opening Reception May 31, 2019 7:30-10:00 PM

From May 31 – August 10, 2019 Hedreen Gallery hosts an exhibition by Seattle-based artist Romson Regarde Bustillo. More than can be held is an immersive, interdisciplinary exhibition of large scale collagraph prints, video, sound and performance that engages with the nuanced networks of visual cues, codes and colloquialisms–imprinted, embodied, enacted and uttered–that are employed by communities to negotiate, claim, and reclaim space. 

cheé-ngak cheé-ngak cheé-ngak
a spell brought me between humid worlds
coveting the last bits of chocolate sauced rice on my bowl

 - from I wake, by Romson Regarde Bustillo

Bustillo’s poems serve as the underlying score for the exhibition. On the evening May 31, a range of improvisational performances and readings by 15 collaborators initiate the exhibition program. Additional programming will be announced via Hedreen Gallery Instagram throughout the run of the exhibition. @su_hedreengallery

In the Artist’s words:

I populate spaces with images and concepts that question and explore how place, context, and visual cues modify, enhance, and divert meanings. I make art to claim presence; revisit truths; and to brake constructed designations of place. 

I immerse viewers in landscapes of coded and identifiable references. My prints and mixed media artworks are further activated by site specific interventions—be they performances, readings, prompts, or onsite learnings/workshops. My intent being that the viewer-participant revisit how others may interpret certain references and actions based on inherited knowledge. 

-Romson Regarde Bustillo, 2019

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(*print image) Romson Regarde Bustillo, Ho Sento/I'm Sorry, Photo by Art and Soul Photography

Interventions II | Thursday, August 1, 2018

Hedreen Gallery, 6-8pm

Following the powerful precedent of the opening interventions on May 31, 2019, join Bustillo and collaborators as they respond to Bustillo’s exhibit more than can be held.

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(*install image) Romson Regarde Bustillo, more than can be held installation w/ intervention by Ben Hunter, Photo by Nicole Berry

publication release + closing conversation with publication writers | Thursday, August 8, 2019

Hedreen Gallery, 6-8pm, conversation starts 6:30pm

Romson Regarde Bustillo and Hedreen Gallery celebrate the release of a publication to commemorate the closing of more than can be held. This original publication will feature photography by Ruby Aquino, Nicole Berry and Joe Freeman Jr, poetry by Romson Regarde Bustillo, and writings by Negarra Kudumu, Luis Ortega and Thea Quiray Tagle. On Thursday, August 8th, join publication contributors for a lively conversation about the exhibition and their writings. 

Publication Contributor Bios

Negarra A. Kudumu works simultaneously as a healer, essayist, curator, and independent scholar of contemporary art. She engages with pre- and post-colonial artistic and spiritual outputs of West and West Central Africa, the Americas, and South Asia.

She is interested in cultural products as evidence of in tact connectivity to indigenous knowledge systems and pre-existing non-western cultural canons. Negarra investigates the ways in which contemporary makers continue to adapt their ancestral knowledge and technologies – consciously and subconsciously – and (re)invigorate generative discourses around art, trauma, healing, liberation, spirituality, and sexuality.

Negarra earned a BA from Dartmouth College and her MA from Leiden University. She holds the title of Yayi Nkisi Malongo (priestess) in the Brama Con Brama lineage of the Afro-Cuban spiritual tradition Palo Mayombe. She is a lay practitioner in the Pimienta lineage of the Afro-Cuban, Lukumi spiritual tradition. Negarra is also a level II Reiki practitioner and herbalist. She lives and works in Seattle where she is Manager of Public Programs at the Frye Art Museum. 

Luis Ortega (he/him) is a multidisciplinary storyteller, empathy educator, social practice artist, and the founder and director of Storytellers for Change.

Over the last fourteen years, Luis has worked with youth, educators, and organizations to co-create storytelling and story-listening strategies to foster empathy, inclusion, and equity. Luis' storytelling focuses on centering historically unheard narratives, elevating the importance of radical story-listening, and creating as well as facilitating spaces for dialogue. He is also the producer of the mini-documentaries series “First Gen Students: Change Starts With Your Story,” and his work has been featured at the Harvard DACA Seminar, the Seattle Design Festival, HBO’s “Where Do You Exist?” podcast, and the ArtPlace America National Summit. Most recently, Luis was selected as W K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow and as a 2019 Disruptor Series Speaker by the Kauffman Foundation.

All of Luis’ work is informed by his personal experience as an immigrant, a commitment to social justice, and a belief in the power of radical empathy to build a world of belonging.

Thea Quiray Tagle, PhD, is a writer, scholar, teacher and curator whose research broadly investigates socially engaged art and site-specific performance; visual cultures of violence; urban planning and the environment; and grassroots responses to political crises in the US and the Philippines. Thea received her PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego, and is presently a faculty member at the University of Washington Bothell. Her research has been published in academic journals including Critical Ethnic Studies and Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, and her arts writing has been recently featured in Hyperallergic and Art Practical.  Thea has curated visual art exhibitions and performances for The Alice (Seattle) and Feast Arts Center (Tacoma, WA), and has organized public programs for venues including the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Centro Cultural de la Raza (San Diego). She is at work on her manuscript, prospectively titled Salvaging Community: Socially Engaged Art, Urban Renewal, and the Remaking of San Francisco.


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Romson Regarde Bustillo is a Pacific Northwest Artist with a rich layered background. Born in the Philippines on the large multi-ethnic/multi-faith island of Mindanao; his family immigrated to the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle in 1978. In his late teens he began to travel abroad; first returning to the Philippines to research Filipino indigenous, colonial, and contemporary iconography; followed by extended stays in Europe and Central America as well as explorations in SE Asia and Africa. On the ground research continues to be important to his practice.

His current art studio is in the Central District of Seattle. He is a Teaching Artist at Seattle Art Museum; an instructor at Pratt Fine Arts Center’s Printmaking Program, and a visiting Lecturer/Print Instructor at the University of Washington’s School of Art, Art History, and Design.

He is a recipient of the Larry Sommers Fellowship (Seattle Print Arts, 2017) artist excellence in the field; and co-recipient, with Juan Alonso-Rodriguez, of the Garboil Conductive Garboil Grant (Estate of Sue Jobs, 2017) for “… pushing the creative act beyond the accepted limits, definitions, or purposes of art while engaging audiences outside the aesthetic industrial complex.”

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Funded in part by a 4Culture Arts Project Grant

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