Lizza May David



1975 Born in Quezon City, PH
Lives and works in Berlin, DE


1999 Fine Arts, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, FR

2000 Fine Arts, class of Prof. Rolf-Gunter Dienst, Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg, DE

2006 Media Arts, Meisterschüler 2008, University of Arts, Berlin, DE



Mangrove, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin, DE


Umwelt, Galeria Duemila, Manila, PH


Tabula Rasa, 1335mabini Studios, Manila, PH
Artist Unknown, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila, PH


On Surface, Green Papaya Art Projects, Manila, PH


The Model Family Award, Galerie Metro, Berlin, DE



Never Shown on Purpose, Circle1, Berlin, DE
They have come to escort me on the dangerous pathway of the intermediate state, Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts (AMNUA), Jiangsu, CN
Graduale 16: No new kind of Duck, Rosa-Luxemburg Platz, Berlin, DE
Abortion of Cute, 8.Salon, Hamburg, DE
Don´t Panic It´s Organic, Galerie Zimmermann-Kratochwill, Graz, AT
Topsy Turvy, Finale Art File, Manila, PH
Electric Bulalo: Painting in Exile, Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery, Manila, PH


Ugat-Agos, NON Berlin, DE
Stop look listen, 1335mabini, Manila, PH
Exoten-AdAptation_AdOption, WARP, Sint-Niklaas, BE
Contemporary Transnational Journeys and Liaisons, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, PH
Cycles of Care - screening, W3, Hamburg, DE
Mai im Januar, Schau Fenster, Berlin, DE


IWF Mördertreff, Spor Klübü, Berlin, DE
They have come to escort me on the dangerous pathway of the intermediate state, Power Station of Art, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, DK
PRO TEST SONG TEST, Litmus Community Space, Seoul (artist group Global Alien), KR
Kunst ist keine Privatmeinung, Zimma, Berlin, DE
They have come to escort me on the dangerous pathway of the intermediate state, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, CN
Die Ästhetik des Widerstands, Galerie im Turm, Berlin, DE
Brave New Worlds, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Manila, PH
Die Ästhetik des Widerstands, IG Bildende Kunst, Vienna, AT


Collective Diary, Space Mass, Seoul, KR
Cold candy crush saga, Hinterconti, Hamburg, DE
The Oracle: What is your prophecy for the future?, The Wand, Berlin, DE
Defile, Galeria Duemila, Manila, PH
TEXT, tête, Berlin, DE
YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT, Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila, PH
Migration/ Integration/ Diversity, Galerie “Zwischenraum”, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, DE


Rebus New York, Emely Harvey Foundation, New York, US
Compounds of a Prism, another vacant space, Berlin, DE
Hauser XI, LOFT, Ansbach, DE
Scrutiny Mutiny, Gartenstudio, Berlin, DE


Being on the move: Reflections on migration, Litmus Community Space, Seoul, KR
nothing2declare, Blanc Compound, Manila, PH
Endlos Umstritten, Ewig Schön, D21 Kunstraum Leipzig, DE
Touch Me, Hiraya Gallery, Manila, PH
the power to host, iscp, New York, US
The American Dream, Gallery Homeland, Portland, Oregon, US
Mothering, Domestic and Private, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, DE


Bastards of Misrepresentation, Doing Time on Filipino Time, Freies Museum Berlin, DE
Tongue, Beyond Belonging: Translocal, Tongue Laden, Berlin, DE
Asian Women‘s Filmfestival, Kino Arsenal, Berlin, DE



Stipend, Fellowship Graduate School for the Arts, Berlin University of the Arts


Global Exchange Grant, Berlin Senate Cultural Affairs Department


Exhibition funding | ifa - Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations


Travel grant, Berlin Senate Cultural Affairs Department


NaföG grant (Landesgraduiertenförderung des Senats Berlin)


DAAD (travel grant in combination with NaföG)
Sodaart/Nomad: Artist in Residency Villa Arson/Nice and Vienna



Presentation, House of Memories, Trandisciplinary workshop/symposium, Academy of Media Arts (KHM), Cologne, DE


Initiator, Salon for Aesthetic Experiments: Tropes in Painting, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, DE
Initiator, Philippine Studies Series Berlin "Moments and Gestures: Capturing Subject and Gender in Phililippine Cinema", Graduate School, University of Arts, Berlin, DE


Presentation, Soongshil University, Seoul, KR


Performance and artist talk, Cultural Centre of the Philippines, Manila, PH
Artist talk, ArtSpeak Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila, PH


Essay, Unfixed - Postcolonial Perspectives in Contemporary Art
Presentation (for Global Alien), Where we meet: Cultural Translation and Art in Social Transformation, ifa - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Werkstatt für Kulturen, Berlin, DE
Presentation, As in Shop, Manila, PH


Curator Philippines, Asian Filmfestival Berlin, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, DE
Lecture at Class of Linda Wysong, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon, US


Workshop and Presentation, with Myriam Eckart, Tongue Laden, Berlin, DE
Presentation, Migration, East Asian Identity and Environmental Diplomacy, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), Berlin, DE


Presentation, Teams & Subjects - Über Autorschaft in Künstlergruppen, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Sophiensäle, Berlin, DE (for Global Alien)
Artist talk, We aren't commodities for sale - Filipino Overseas Workers in Japan and Hongkong, Talk and screenings by Kaoru Yoneyama, Moira Zoitl and Lizza May David, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, DE


Visual artist Lizza May David (*1975, Quezon City, Philippines) is current fellow of the Graduate School of the Arts/ University of Arts Berlin. She studied Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg and Visual Communication/Media Art at the University of Arts Berlin. Much of her previous work stems from her biography and investigates issues of identity, labor/migration and memory. Her paintings today reflect her contextual artistic disposition, understanding the canvas as a sensorium for subjective and collective issues.

Press text 'Mangrove' (2016)

Mangroves grow in the salty or brackish water of tropical coasts. As the tide falls and rises, their roots surface from the swamps and disappear again. Roots and identity, knowledge and its loss, are recurring themes in Lizza
painting, photography, and film.

Her photo series The
is based on pictures taken by her stepfather, a photographer from a small German town, when he travelled Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines in the 1970s. Before showing them in a small exhibition, he presented his pictures in the family’s photo shop and asked customers and friends to mark their favorites with colored paper dots. In David’s reworking, the album pages and paper dots hold the memory of how the photographer and his audience viewed and framed the unknown Filipinos. This not only reflects on how the perceptions of self and others interact in forming identity. It also raises the question of who, in fact, has the power to decide what is to be seen and what remains untold, and how regimes of knowledge production correlate with economic power relations in a globalized world.

David addresses the conditions of knowledge and its loss in painting as well. Often starting from not-quite knowing where it will take her, she works the canvas, its dimensions and shape. She circles the missing, the absent, the unknown, and reproduces margins until a center emerges. Quite literally then, her painting becomes „evidence of localized, embodied thought“*: a roll-your-sleeves-up engagement with knowledge and identity but from an individual, transnational perspective. Her paintings evoke images of art and nature that hover undecidedly between her Philippine origins and her European art education, juggling with Western and South East Asian imaginations of modernity. Modernist abstraction collides with painterly fantasies of exotic forests and with a local botanist’s fight for the preservation of species.

David’s paintings are the look into the jungle and, at the same time, its looking back. They make it difficult to distinguish between visibility and opacity, bringing to the fore the gaze itself. Just as, if you had to bend down first to peek into a window, you’d become aware of your movement, allowing you to reflect on the act and, at best, on the conditions of your looking.

Text by Oona Lochner

*Avigail Moss/Kerstin Stakemeier, Implicit Horizon, in: id. (eds.), Painting. The Implicit Horizon, The Jan van Eyck Academie, 2012, pp. 9-21, here: p. 18.