Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan

Project Another Country

3 Mar –
29 Apr 2018

Dynamic husband and wife team, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, emigrated from the Philippines to Australia in 2006. Over many years they have created complex installations, working with communities around the world to create works that explore narratives of displacement, change, memory and community. These large-scale installations often reflect their own migratory experiences, while conveying points of exchange and communication that extend beyond borders. 

Over the past year, the Aquilizans have been engaged by the Cairns Art Gallery to work with local community groups to create an installation of handmade boats from recycled cardboard boxes to explore concepts of journeying to a new home and issues surrounding migration and resettlement. 

The project has involved more than eight hundred participants from local community groups, including the PNG, Samoan, Philippine, Chinese and Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal communities of Cairns who have participated in a series of workshops run by Kylie Burke in collaboration with the artists. Once complete, the installation will comprise more than three hundred handmade boats and handwritten stories to explain memories of travel, migration, displacement and sense of place.

The visually stunning installation takes the viewer on an underwater voyage of discovery, where periscopes, lights and reflections bring the flotilla of tiny craft to life and inspire viewers to make their own boats during the exhibition using materials supplied by the Gallery.

On the first weekend of March families and friends are invited to participate in a weekend of free activities and workshops that relate to the Aquilizan’s extraordinarily detailed and compelling installation at the Gallery.


The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.