Obituary: Kidlat de Guia (1975–2022)
By HG Masters
Artist, photographer, and filmmaker Kidlat de Guia died on March 9 in Madrid, where he was visiting for the closure of his father Kidlat Tahimik’s exhibition at the Palacio de Cristal in Retiro Park. The news circulated after Kidlat’s younger brother, Kawayan de Guia, shared on Facebook a photograph of them, “taken 12 hours before his departure,” without giving a cause of death.
Born in 1975 in Munich, Kidlat de Guia was the eldeset son of the renowned filmmaker and installation artist Kidlat Tahimik (born Eric Oteyza de Guia) and stained-glass artist Katrin Müller-de Guia. The family relocated to Tahimik’s native city of Baguio where he grew up, studying science in school before cultivating an interest in photography, which led him to a career as a travel photographer and video editor. In the early and mid-2000s, as a film director, he looked at social issues in the Philippines, making films about a peace initiative in Mindanao that used sports to reach young people and another about efforts to grow organic coffee by small farmers in the Philippines.
Around the same time, de Guia began exhibiting his photographs at art galleries, including in a 2007 family exhibition “KKK: Photographs by Kidlat, Kawayan and Kabunyan de Guia” at Silverlens, and in his 2011 solo exhibition, “Slice,” also at Silverlens, of images taken around an abandoned mini-golf course in Baguio. In 2009, he was shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards for his 2008 exhibition “Sleeping White Elephants” at Galleria Duemila.
Drawing on Cordilleran culture, de Guia later developed his practice by weaving together strips of his photographs, creating composite portraits of himself and his father or son, as well as people and places in Baguio, which he exhibited in “Woven into Being” at Galleria Duemila in 2015. More recent exhibitions, such as the group exhibition “Stalking Solitude,” at Galerie Stephanie in 2019 featured his travel photographs.
Kidlat, along with his two brothers, appeared in many of their father’s autobiographical films. Kidlat is survived by his parents, brothers Kawayan and Kabunyan, and his wife and children.