Trading Cebu #1

Year: 2003

Medium: Photo Installation. 4 mounted Photographs and a framed Virgin Mary icon

Dimensions: 120cm x 100cm x 10cm

Location: Eindelijk exhibition. June 2002. Moira Gallery. Utrecht. Holland. Moira Expositieruimte.

Trading Cebu #1 is a triptych photography installation with a framed Virgin Mary above the images. The left and right panels depict two different Filipino women wearing a necklace which seems unbefitting to their work clothes. The middle showcases two images of fashion jewellery being manufactured. 

Exhibited in Moira Gallery in Utrecht, Trading Cebu #1 reveals the bittersweet truth behind most jewellery manufactures in the Global South for beauty in the Global North, and how religion plays a role in their survival. The portrayed women, alongside many others, produce jewellery for a living, under unregulated working conditions but do not wear them. By displaying portraits of the women wearing the necklaces adjacent to the manufacturing process, Trading Cebu #1 elevates these women as wearers and not only manufacturers.

In the Philippines where Christianity is the predominant religion, it is the women’s faith in the care and protection of Mother Mary which helps them cope with their harsh reality. Lebrusan gifted this work to the women as a symbol of empowerment.