Agelio Batle:
REsurrection Lesson

May 11-June 29
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 11, 3-6pm

The San Francisco Arts Education Project is thrilled to present REsurrection Lesson: a solo exhibition by SFArtsED Master Artist Agelio Batle.

Agelio Batle spent much of his formative years moving to and from the various US Navy Bases on which his father was stationed. It was the six year stay on the small Pacific island of Guam that left the strongest impression on him and would help to shape Batle’s early creative psyche. He would attend public school with the often barefoot native Chamorro children, where their local mythology became intertwined with his own highly superstitious, Filipino-Catholic upbringing.  Adjacent to the military base on which they lived, was a thick tropical jungle steeped in local legends, that would become his playground. Exploring these surroundings he found beaches that were strewn with large bullet casings, rusted-out ship carcasses from fierce battles of World War II, freely roaming monitor lizards and the Taotaomo’na (ancestral spirits) that hid in the banyan tree roots. Once he found a human skull that the elders said was likely to be a Japanese soldier’s. It is this odd mixture of military, Catholicism and native mysticism that formed his rich and perplexing childhood and continues to inform his creative practice today.

REsurrection Lesson mines his family’s oral history and the geopolitical past that ignited the diaspora that brought his family to Guam and later to California. Traces of Colonial ships, religious icons, ancestors and spirits animate the tablet-like artifacts that make up this most recent work, much of which rests against the wall on shelves. The newly integrated carved surfaces make it “easier to get outside of language and logic,” Batle describes. “Pencils and paint brushes seem to have a stronger connection to communication,” while the physical process of carving with knives is less precise yet allows to channel a deeper layer of subconscious decision-making.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image: 1565 Legazpi’s Spider Galleon
Graphite on Plywood, 36×31″ 2024