In 1973, Former first lady Imelda Marcos had invited the Italian film star turned photographer Gina Lollobrigida to produce a coffee book on the Philippines. Lollobrigida ended up photographing the Tasadays, a tribe of allegedly primitive forest dwellers, “discovered” in the early 1970s as living in complete isolation from society. The Tasadays were later found to have been entirely manufactured by the Marcoses, who pressured a Mindanao tribe to put on the appearance of living a Stone Age lifestyle.
In this series, My Dear, There Are Always People Who Are Just A Little Faster, More Brilliant and More Aggressive, Abad uses the confluence of characters in this bizarre episode to reflect on the attempts of Imelda to create an image of civility during the onset of Martial law - Tasaday and Lollobrigida fully encapsulating the absurd spectrum of characters made complicit in the weaving of this narrative. By transposing this narrative onto a silk scarf, Abad reconfigures this grand vision into a domestic one as he attempts to create what he calls ‘ergonomic representations’ of the complex network of political and artistic alliances, fraudulent ideologies and intimate, often petty, histories that have shaped our notion of Philippine modernity.