Silverlens Launches Lubi Art Residency: Artists Create Carbon-Neutral Installations on Kopiat Island


Art Residency
  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Thursday, June 22, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090


  • Manila-based art gallery Silverlens has launched the Lubi Art Residency on Kopiat Island in the Philippines, aiming to foster sustainability and artistic expression.
  • The residency encourages artists to create carbon-neutral public art installations using materials found on the island, such as driftwood and bamboo.
  • By incorporating the island’s resources and engaging the local community, the residency promotes environmental respect and offers a transformative experience for both artists and visitors.
  • The programme not only showcases artistic brilliance but also contributes to the ongoing conservation efforts of Kopiat Island’s marine ecosystem, creating a harmonious coexistence between art and nature.


Manila-based art gallery Silverlens is embarking on an innovative venture by launching the Lubi Art Residency on Kopiat Island in the southern Philippines. This unique programme aims to promote sustainability and creativity by encouraging artists to create public art installations using materials found on the island. With a focus on carbon neutrality and ecological preservation, the residency promises to be a transformative experience for both the artists and the local community.

The Lubi Art Residency: Fostering Environmental Consciousness

The Lubi Art Residency, named after the Visayan word for coconut, is hosted at the Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort on Kopiat Island, situated in the picturesque Davao Gulf. Once an agricultural region, the island offers a wealth of natural materials that artists can use for their installations. Driftwood, bamboo, and debris washed ashore will serve as the primary building blocks, allowing the projects to degrade naturally over time and making them carbon-neutral.

Promoting Environmental respect

Rachel Rillo, one of Silverlens’ co-owners, emphasises the intrinsic connection between Southeast Asian communities and their environment, shaped by frequent encounters with natural forces like storms, earthquakes, and volcanoes. This familiarity fosters a profound respect for nature. Living on the islands, residents understand the impermanence of things as they inevitably degrade and return to nature due to factors such as humidity, storms, and sun exposure.

Pragmatic and Sustainable approach

Using materials recovered from Kopiat Island not only ensures carbon neutrality but also minimises the need for costly transportation. Silverlens carefully selected artists who are already experienced in using found objects in their artistic practises, ensuring a seamless integration of the island’s resources into their creative process. The first cohort of artists, including Corinne de San Jose, Gary-Ross Pastrana, Wawi Navarroza, Christina Quisumbing Ramilo, Bernardo Pacquing, and James Clar, promises a diverse range of installations.

The Artistic Process: From Creation to Installation

The artists participating in the Lubi Art Residency aim to complete their projects by the end of the year. The installations will then find their homes in various public spaces around Kopiat Island by March 2024. To ensure the success and environmental sustainability of the residency, Silverlens partnered with the Lanang Realty Development Corporation. This collaboration involves enlisting the expertise of local scientists and marine biologists who are dedicated to protecting the island from erosion and preserving its rich biodiversity.

A Haven for Marine Life: Where Art and Nature Converge

Kopiat Island, nestled within the picturesque Davao Gulf, is not just a stunning tropical paradise but also a haven for marine life. Its crystal-clear waters and thriving ecosystem have made it renowned for its diverse cetacean habitats and its role as a sanctuary for turtles. As waves gently lap against its shores, the island hums with the harmonious symphony of nature.

The preservation of marine life and the protection of the island’s pristine beaches have played a vital role in the region’s economic growth through ecotourism. Visitors flock to witness the vibrant tapestry of marine biodiversity that calls these waters home. With its shimmering coral reefs, teeming schools of fish, and the graceful presence of majestic cetaceans, Kopiat Island captivates the hearts and minds of those who venture to its shores.

It is within this enchanting backdrop that the Lubi Art Residency takes root. While the residency showcases the creative brilliance of artists, it also serves as a meaningful contribution to the island’s ongoing conservation efforts. The intersection of art and nature becomes a powerful medium through which the importance of preserving and cherishing the marine ecosystem is magnified.

Through their innovative installations, the participating artists not only draw inspiration from the island’s natural beauty but also create thought-provoking dialogues about the delicate balance between humans and the environment. These installations, crafted from the island’s own materials like driftwood, bamboo, and other found objects, become a visual testament to the profound connection between art and nature.

Immersing in Nature’s Symphony: Art and Marine Beauty on Kopiat Island

As visitors explore the art installations scattered across Kopiat Island’s public spaces, they are simultaneously invited to immerse themselves in the breathtaking marine environment surrounding them. The rhythmic dance of the waves, the vibrant colours of coral reefs, and the gentle presence of marine creatures serve as a backdrop for contemplation and inspiration.

Furthermore, the Lubi Art Residency not only deepens appreciation for the island’s marine life but also stimulates the local economy. The influx of visitors drawn by the intersection of art and nature provides a sustainable source of income for the community. It creates opportunities for local businesses, such as eco-friendly accommodations, boat tours, and authentic culinary experiences, allowing the residents to thrive while safeguarding the island’s ecological integrity.

The Lubi Art Residency encapsulates the spirit of symbiosis, where art and nature intertwine in a harmonious embrace. It stands as a testament to the belief that the creative expression of humanity can coexist with the preservation of the natural world. As artists and visitors alike embark on this transformative journey, they become custodians of Kopiat Island’s marine sanctuary, ensuring that its beauty endures for generations to come.

Inspiration from Naoshima: Adapting to the Local Context

The founders of Silverlens, Rachel Rillo and Isa Lorenzo, drew inspiration from similar art programmes in Naoshima, Japan. Naoshima transformed once-abandoned fishing villages into thriving contemporary art spaces. The Lubi Art Residency aims to incorporate the local community into the programme, recognising that traditional art institutions are less prevalent in the Philippines.

Experience-Based Art Appreciation: Where Culture and Creativity Converge

Festivals, music, performances, and the practise of adornment are all considered beautiful in the Philippines, a nation with a lively culture and customs. It is a place where artistic expression is woven into the fabric of daily life and where creativity rushes through the veins of its inhabitants. One of the Silverlens co-owners, Rachel Rillo, highlights the strength and potential of experience-based art in this fabric of cultural diversity.

Experience-based art allows people to interact with art on a personal level and overcomes the boundaries of conventional art institutions. Beyond merely observing, it promotes engagement in the creative process by encouraging active participation. It invites the observer to enter a realm where art is not only admired from afar but also experienced through all the senses.

By embracing this attitude, Silverlens provides the public with a distinctive and convenient way to engage with and appreciate art through the Lubi Art Residency. Visitors to Kopiat Island take an active role in the artistic narrative rather than just being observers. They are encouraged to explore the installations, feel the various textures, and experience the resonance of each piece.

People can explore the creative visions of the participating artists and develop a deeper connection with their artwork while being immersed in the stunning splendour of the island’s natural surroundings. The works, made from resources available on the island, become an extension of the surroundings, merging in with the scenery and fostering a harmonious coexistence between art and nature.

Fostering Connection and Community Through Experience-Based Art

Experience-based art overcomes linguistic and cultural barriers, enabling people from different backgrounds to connect through their shared interaction with creativity. As people come together to appreciate and connect with the art, it opens up dialogue, inspires creativity, and develops a sense of community.

The Lubi Art Residency promotes experience-based art since it fosters a stronger bond between the community and the creative process while simultaneously showcasing the artists’ talent and vision. It prepares the way for a more open-minded and democratic approach to art in which anyone can find comfort, joy, and inspiration regardless of their artistic background.

Silverlens and the Lubi Art Residency work to stoke each person’s enthusiasm for creativity through the language of experience-based art. By providing an environment where artistic expression may act as a potent catalyst for cultural development and understanding, they aim to break through the barriers between art and the community.

The locals join together as they embrace the beauty found in the fusion of art, culture, and the human spirit as they socialise within the lush surroundings of Kopiat Island. The Lubi Art Residency acts as a bridge, encouraging individuals to enter a world where art is not seen as separate from life but rather as intimately woven into it, providing a fresh perspective through which to view their surroundings.

Safeguarding the Island’s Environment

Kopiat Island has witnessed significant environmental changes over the years. Three decades ago, the beach extended eight metres before reaching the water. However, due to climate change and erosion, the natural beach has vanished, necessitating the installation of a breakwater around the island. The island’s marine ecosystem also suffered from cyanide fishing practises, causing damage to underwater flora and fauna, including coral reefs. Fortunately, the area is now a protected zone, and the local ecosystem has shown signs of recovery.

Hope in the Face of Climate Change

Despite the challenges posed by climate change, Isa Lorenzo emphasises the resilience of the environment. By leaving nature undisturbed, it has the ability to regenerate and thrive. This serves as a powerful reminder that small efforts to protect and preserve the environment can yield significant positive outcomes.

A Gentle Reminder

Rachel Rillo adds that it takes little for the environment to flourish on its own. Through the Lubi Art Residency, Silverlens aims to foster this awareness and promote the preservation of nature for future generations.

Conclusion: A Journey of Artistic Exploration and Environmental Stewardship

The launch of the Lubi Art Residency on Kopiat Island heralds a new era of sustainable and community-driven art initiatives. Silverlens, with its unwavering commitment to carbon-neutral installations and the use of found materials, not only showcases the boundless creativity of artists but also raises a collective environmental consciousness.

Through the residency, Silverlens demonstrates that art and nature need not be at odds but can exist in perfect harmony. The installations, created from materials found on the island itself, become a testament to the beauty of resourcefulness and the transformative power of creativity. Each piece is a gentle reminder that art, like nature, is ever-evolving and transient, and that its impermanence only adds to its allure.

This artistic endeavour goes beyond the realm of aesthetics. It weaves a narrative of environmental stewardship and underscores the importance of sustainable practises in the art world. By minimising the need for costly shipping and embracing the island’s resources, the Lubi Art Residency sets an example for art communities worldwide, showcasing the immense potential for creating impactful, eco-conscious installations.

What sets this residency apart is its collaborative spirit and integration of the local community. Silverlens, in partnership with the Lanang Realty Development Corporation, ensures that the island’s natural beauty and biodiversity are protected. The inclusion of local scientists and marine biologists brings a scientific lens to the conservation efforts, safeguarding the delicate ecosystem of the Davao Gulf.

Bridging Art and Culture: A Celebration of Heritage and Creative Exploration

Moreover, the Lubi Art Residency taps into the rich cultural tapestry of the Philippines. It embraces the spirit of festivals, music, performances, and decoration, offering an experience-based approach to art appreciation. By involving the community, the residency becomes a celebration of cultural heritage and a catalyst for artistic exploration. It bridges the gap between traditional art institutions and a populace hungry for creative experiences.

As visitors wander through the installations, touched by the island’s beauty and the evocative power of art, a sense of unity and shared purpose emerges. The Lubi Art Residency fosters a collective experience that transcends boundaries, where individuals from diverse backgrounds find common ground in their connection with creativity and nature.

In the story of the Lubi Art Residency, we find inspiration for similar endeavours around the globe. It exemplifies the transformative potential of art in igniting environmental consciousness, nurturing cultural preservation, and fostering community engagement. It is a testament to the fact that art, when combined with sustainability and inclusivity, becomes a force capable of driving positive change.

As we venture into the future, let the Lubi Art Residency serve as a guiding light, reminding us of the harmonious coexistence of art, nature, and cultural preservation. It calls upon artists, communities, and visionaries worldwide to embark on their own creative journeys, where the intersection of art and nature becomes a sanctuary for exploration, appreciation, and transformation.

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