FCPM: Don Bryan Bunag and the Inner Journey

The Artist

With an ever-growing and recognizable body of work, Don Bryan Bunag takes a step back to leap forward, as he distills his influences thus far into “Refugee,” his recently concluded solo online release for Cartellino.

Looking into his days as a Fine Arts Student, he recalls being invested in the allied fields of advertising, publication, and digital production. With a process that contextualizes contradictions and materiality in his work, he recalls: “I believe those years gave me the initial training and demeanor to work more closely on the methodologies and details of creating an output.” Jumping back to present time, he is able to apply those philosophies and disciplines to his practice.

In Refugee, the Brutalist Movement in architecture of the 1950s plays a central role, subject-wise. Drawing from the necessity of infrastructure and habitation post-war, the monolithic and arresting structures implied tension and incongruence to every landscape. These elements presented an unknown that imparted discomfort – and a realization of vulnerability. 

This leads to the idea of inner landscapes, something Bunag had been mulling for a decade or so. “I believe that within us lie our own unique versions of spiritual and metaphysical landscapes that affect our identity and sentimentality. This landscape is continuously formed by each reaction and reflection from experiences, personal or political. And as we go on with life, we continue to discover every element, building up every landscape and its structures, and further realizing our personal inner worlds.”

Keeping this in mind, he combined digital photography and multiple layers of digital manipulations to produce images which were printed manually through cyanotype printing. “I created imaginary scenarios and images presented them as if they actually happened and were directly captured by a pinhole camera,” he shares. Familiarity finds refuge in that which is yet to be explored, and that is what Bunag creates in these cyanotype works.

These inner journeys are marked by a timelessness, and he suggests this by use of a convergence of conventional and digital processes. From the mystical, mental, spiritual and personal realms, Don Bryan Bunag elucidates moments in our minds that exist within the sphere of our unknown capacities, where we seek refuge from the daily mundane. In here, we are travellers not lost, but neither are found. 


For 2024, Cartellino will explore exhibitions and artworks through form, content, process and mood: FCPM. It might seem too simple for some, but our goal is to make it art relatable and easier to understand. Let us know what you think!