Et Dies Tuus Non Est Inferno, 2018
Cian Dayrit

Embroidery on textile
160 x 195 cm
Photo: Gianmarco Bresadola

Dayrit’s embroidered textile works plot how histories of oppression relate to the politics of the present. Et Dies Tuus Non Est Inferno [You will have your day in hell] depicts the sole surviving ship from the fleet of 16th-century Spanish explorer Magellan, in which he circumnavigated the globe in search of “the Spice Islands” (the Mollucas). Landing in Cebu, an island in present-day Philippines, he was killed in a battle with local Lapu-Lapu warriors, a few years before Spanish colonization took hold from this same location.

In the corners of this flag-like textile, animal heads represent the imperial powers and their corrupt politicians. The Latin text, a mocking incantation against the conservative rich, reads:
“All hail the one percent. All hail the new world order. Plunder and impunity is the new dogma. Profit is the purpose. Capital is life. Hail the holy one percent.”
Like the magical amulets of Filipino folk-catholic practices, the composition serves to ward off the destructive path forged by dominant cultures.

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