Giolo's Lament marble engraving (detail) - Pio Abad - Ashmolean Now




10 Feb – 8 Sep 2024

Gallery 8

Admission is FREE

The second in the Ashmolean NOW exhibition series, where contemporary artists are invited to create new work inspired by the Ashmolean’s historical collections.

This exhibition, entitled To Those Sitting in Darkness, features new drawings and objects by London-based artist Pio Abad (b.1983).

Contemporary artist Pio Abad in his studio

Pio Abad at work in his studio

Deeply informed by the history of the world and particularly the Philippines, where Abad was born and raised, his works draw out transnational lines between historical incidents and people, and our lives today.

Concerned with colonial history and cultural loss, Abad’s works are exhibited together with select works by other artists and ‘diasporic’ objects from Oxford collections, chosen by the artist.

Pio Abad artworks showing a figurine and a light

1897. No.3, Pio Abad, 2023. Ink & screen print on paper, (one of a set of 14) 1016 x 686mm © Pio Abad. Courtesy the artist

The title ‘To Those Sitting in Darkness’ is a reference to American writer Mark Twain’s satire ‘To the Person Sitting in Darkness’ (1901), which strongly criticised imperialism.

Abad views the exhibition as an 'act of illumination that puts unexamined histories on display and addresses objects that have been confined to the margins of telling.'

Header image: To Those Sitting in Darkness, Pio Abad, 2023 © Pio Abad

About Ashmolean NOW

For this series of three exhibitions in Gallery 8, each artist will explore different areas of the Museum’s broad collections. Ashmolean NOW will feature their four very different points of view. The first summer 2023-24 exhibition showing work by Flora Yukhnovich and Daniel Crews-Chubb is followed by Pio Abad in February 2024 and Bettina von Zwehl in October 2024.

Exhibition supported by:

Ampersand Foundation
Christian Levett
Mercedes U. Zobel
The Patrons of the Ashmolean Museum
and those who wish to remain anonymous