Lizza May David




1999 Fine Arts | École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Lyon | France
2000 Bildende Kunst | Class of Prof. Rolf-Gunter Dienst | Academy of Fine Arts | Nuremberg | Germany
2006 Medienkunst | Berlin University of Arts | Germany || 2008 Meisterschuler


2016 Lizza May David - Mangrove | Galerie Michael Janssen | Berlin | Germany
2014 Tabula Rasa | 1335mabini Studios | Manila | Philippines
Artist Unknown | Cultural Center of the Philippines | Manila | Philippines
2012 On Surface | Green Papaya Art Projects | Manila | Philippines
2008 The Model Family Award | Galerie Metro | Berlin | Germany


2016 Never Shown on Purpose | Circle1 | Berlin | Germany
Graduale 16: No new kind of Duck | Rosa-Luxemburg Platz | Berlin | Germany
Abortion of Cute | 8.Salon | Hamburg | Germany
TRIAS | NON Berlin | Germany
Don´t Panic It´s Organic | Galerie Zimmermann-Kratochwill | Graz | Austria
Topsy Turvy | Finale Art File | Manila | Philippines
Electric Bulalo: Painting in Exile | Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery | Manila | Philippines
2015 UGAT-AGOS (Roots-Flow) | NON Berlin | Germany
STOP LOOK LISTEN | 1335mabini | Manila | Philippines
Exoten-AdAptation_AdOption | WARP | Sint-Niklaas | Belgium
Contemporary Transnational Journeys and Liaisons | MET Manila | Philippines
2014 IWF Mördertreff | Spor Klübü | Berlin | Germany
They have come to escort me...| Nikolaj Kunsthal | Copenhagen (screening)
PRO TEST SONG TEST (GA-group) | Litmus Community Space | Seoul
Kunst ist keine Privatmeinung | Zimma | Berlin | Germany (duo)
They have come to escort me... | Power Station of Art | Shanghai (screening)
Die Ästhetik des Widerstands | Galerie im Turm | Berlin | Germany
Brave New Worlds | Metropolitan Museum of Manila | Philippines
Die Ästhetik des Widerstands | IG BILDENDE KUNST | Vienna | Austria
2013 Collective Diary | Space Mass | Seoul | South-Korea
Cold candy crush saga | Hinterconti | Hamburg | Germany
The Oracle: What is your prophecy for the future? | The Wand | Berlin | Germany
Defile | Galeria Duemila | Manila | Philippines
LIZZA MAY DAVID TEXT | tête | Berlin | Germany
YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT | Ateneo Art Gallery | Manila | Philippines
Migration/ Integration/ Diversity | Galerie “Zwischenraum” | Heinrich Böll Stiftung
2012 Rebus New York | Emely Harvey Foundation | New York (artist group Global Alien)
Compounds of a Prism | another vacant space | Berlin | Germany
2011 Being on the move: Reflections on migration | Litmus Community Space | Seoul
nothing2declare | Blanc Compound | Manila | Philippines
ENDLOS UMSTRITTEN, EWIG SCHÖN | D21 Kunstraum Leipzig | Germany
Mothering, Domestic and Private | Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien | Berlin


2014-16 Stipend | Fellowship Graduate School for the Arts | Berlin University of the Arts
2014 Global Exchange Grant | Berlin Senate Cultural Affairs Department
2013 Exhibition funding | ifa - Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations
2011 Travel grant | Berlin Senate Cultural Affairs Department
2007-08 NaföG and DAAD grant (Landesgraduiertenförderung des Senats Berlin)
2007 Sodaart/Nomad: Artist in Residency Villa Arson/Nice and Vienna


2016 Talk-Runde | What is ‚Asia‘ in contemporary art | NON Berlin | Germany
2015 Initiatorin Talk-Runde: Tropes in Painting | Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin
Co-Initiatorin Ausstellungs-und Eventreihe | UGAT-AGOS | NON Berlin
Initiatorin Talk-Runde „Moments and Gestures: Capturing Subject and Gender
in Philippine Cinema“ | Graduate School | University of Arts Berlin
Screening and talk von „Cylces of Care“ | W3 | Hamburg | Germany
2014 Artist talk | Soongshil University | Seoul
2013 Performance and artist talk | Cultural Centre of the Philippines | Manila
Artist talk | ArtSpeak Ateneo Art Gallery | Manila
2012 Essay | Unfixed - Postcolonial Perspectives in Contemporary Art
Presentation (for Global Alien) | Where we meet: Cultural Translation and Art in
Social Transformation | ifa - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen | Werkstatt fur Kulturen | Berlin
Presentation | As in Shop | Manila
2011 Curator Philippines | Asian Filmfestival Berlin | Haus der Kulturen der Welt | Berlin


Mangroves grow in the salty or brackish water of tropical coasts. As the tide falls and rises, their roots surface from the swamps and disappear again. Roots and identity, knowledge and its loss, are recurring themes in Lizza May David’s painting, photography, and film.

Her photo series The Mangrove Selection is based on pictures taken by her stepfather, a photographer from a small German town, when he travelled Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines in the 1970s. Before showing them in a small exhibition, he presented his pictures in the family’s photo shop and asked customers and friends to mark their favorites with colored paper dots. In David’s reworking, the album pages and paper dots hold the memory of how the photographer and his audience viewed and framed the unknown Filipinos. This not only reflects on how the perceptions of self and others interact in forming identity. It also raises the question of who, in fact, has the power to decide what is to be seen and what remains untold, and how regimes of knowledge production correlate with economic power relations in a globalized world.

David addresses the conditions of knowledge and its loss in painting as well. Often starting from not-quite knowing where it will take her, she works the canvas, its dimensions and shape. She circles the missing, the absent, the unknown, and reproduces margins until a center emerges. Quite literally then, her painting becomes „evidence of localized, embodied thought“*: a roll-your-sleeves-up engagement with knowledge and identity but from an individual, transnational perspective. Her paintings evoke images of art and nature that hover undecidedly between her Philippine origins and her European art education, juggling with Western and South East Asian imaginations of modernity. Modernist abstraction collides with painterly fantasies of exotic forests and with a local botanist’s fight for the preservation of species.

David’s paintings are the look into the jungle and, at the same time, its looking back. They make it difficult to distinguish between visibility and opacity, bringing to the fore the gaze itself. Just as, if you had to bend down first to peek into a window, you’d become aware of your movement, allowing you to reflect on the act and, at best, on the conditions of your looking.

Oona Lochner

*Avigail Moss/Kerstin Stakemeier, Implicit Horizon, in: id. (eds.), Painting. The Implicit Horizon, The Jan van Eyck Academie, 2012, pp. 9-21, here: p. 18.