This volume surveys three decades of Pacita Abad’s multifaceted practice. Published on the occasion of her first-ever retrospective, it includes new research and writing by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Ruba Katrib, Nancy Lim, Matthew Villar Miranda, Victoria Sung and Xiaoyu Weng, an edited oral history about the artist’s life and work by Pio Abad and Victoria Sung, and never-before-seen artworks and archival materials.
Over the course of her career, Abad made an exuberant, wide-ranging body of work that was ahead of its time in promoting a transcultural worldview. Moving between the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and the US―while also spending extended periods in dozens of countries on six continents―she interacted with the many artist communities she encountered on her travels. Drawing on her knowledge of global fiber traditions, Abad innovated a hybrid art form that she called “trapunto” painting (from the Italian word trapungere, “to embroider”). Made by stitching and stuffing her painted canvases as opposed to stretching them over a wood frame, the resulting works’ portability speaks to her peripatetic existence, while their association with textiles evokes female, non-Western forms of labor that have historically been marginalized as craft.