Florence Cinco (b. 1972) is a Manila-based multidisciplinary artist born in Calbayog City, Samar, Philippines.
Cinco’s conceptual framework speaks about a promise: The possibility of recovery from a Precolonial history. Found objects serve as receptacles of forgotten memories – memories relegated to forgetfulness by centuries of colonial acculturation. The artist believes that traces of time evidenced on found objects can be likened to the processes by which one is able to peel off myths in culture. They bring us to the realisation that something can be done, that we can strip away contraptions in a culture that beguile people into thinking that they are already free from colonial subterfuges. Through assisted transfigurations of found objects, the artworks mimic an archaeological project aimed at recovering lost meanings and appropriating recovered memories for the benefit of the present.
The techniques and processes that the artist utilises in the transfiguration of found objects bring spectators to a realization of our forgetfulness. The scratched layers of paint, faded varnishes, aged frames, rusted corners, rusted galvanised iron sheets that symbolises precolonial history, decayed surfaces of wood, and images of precolonial warriors on wood surface serve as metaphors of the processes that the consciousness of our people may endure in the road towards recovery. By presenting these traces as metaphors, the artist slowly peels off layers of treachery so that one may discover the alternative narration concealed beneath the official storyline of our history. The very fact that the artefacts of the artist are found objects supports this contention. Memories rest and sometimes hide in our consciousness. They are there to be utilised when found.
The artist practices tantra yoga meditation and vegetarianism and is known for his sculptures and mixed media art using found objects. There is, therefore, no disconnect between his thought practice (theory) and art practice. His artworks capture this connection.
Cinco has received numerous art awards, including Juror’s Choice for the 2020 Metro Manila Art Award (Philip Morris), presented by Yuchengco Museum, Philippines, the Excellence Award at the 3rd Malaysia Art Biennale 2018, Kedah, Malaysia, and the Excellence Award at the 2017 Shanghai International Contemporary Art Exchange Exhibition, China.
Apart from exhibiting his artwork internationally in both solo and group exhibitions, he is affiliated with numerous arts and cultural organisations, including the Renaissance Artists and Writers Association (RAWA), Maharlika Artists and Writers Federation (MAWF), Philippine Association of Printmakers (PAP), Visayan Island Visual Artist Association (VIVAA), Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) and Sculpture Society Singapore (SSS).