Dancing on Axes & Spears


Presented at Montclair State University Galleries; supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its funding and advisory body.

Dancing on Axes & Spears is a solo museum exhibition that featured new commissions, as well as a survey old works that Garcia has created since 2018 to explore community resilience and personal identity.

Exhibition trailer for Dancing on Axes & Spears, 2023

In this exhibition, Garcia’s traverses experiences of assimilation and cultural memory, including her relationship with Indigeneity through diasporic and feminist perspectives. The main component of the gallery features an interactive martial arts gym - an expanded iteration of I Woke Up & Chose Violence. Employing video, performance, sculpture, and installation, Garcia addresses a central theme of  “alterity” – an anthropological term meaning “otherness” to mark her position in the diaspora where distance, language barriers, and colonization fracture traditional knowledge. The works are emblematic of the ways Garcia resists assimilation tactics within colonized land through unique survival strategies informed by elements of Indigenous Filipino culture and traditions including martial arts and spirituality, technology, and community collaborations to builds upon these themes and their relationships to larger systems including immigration, self-hood, and safety.

The exhibition title was borrowed from an epic (gasumbi) from the Indigenous Kalinga tribe of Northern Luzon, which tells the story of Emla, a healing heroine and fearless warrior of the Buaya, Crocodile People who is challenged to undertake a headhunting raid. (“Dancing on the edges of axes and tips of spears” as translated in Verbal Arts in Philippine Indigenous Communities by Herminia Meñez Coben)

Exhibition History: Montclair State University Galleries (2022)
Image Credit: Install photography by Cary Whittier