Mark Lewis Higgin


The fusion of cultures is not a new phenomenon to Mark Lewis Higgins, who was born in Manila to an Irish-English father, and a Chinese-Filipina mother. After studying Fine Art in Canada and Fashion Design in New York, he also lived in Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Rome. He is currently based in Manila.

Although primarily a painter, his diverse interests have included textile and costume design. An inherent respect for rich color, texture and drama is apparent in all his work, as is his interest in both Eastern and Western history, culture, and religion.

Who we are today and how we came about is not always what it seems, or what we have been led to believe. Archaeologists continue to uncover entire cities and civilizations that we never realized existed. With the science of DNA testing, we are discovering remarkable things about our history –

Genealogists have traced the first human, our ancestral mother Eve, to faraway Africa. Sixteen million living men carry the Y-chromosome of Genghis Khan. Alexander the Great carried his Hellenistic gene across half the known world – from Greece to India – directly influencing the way the Buddha is depicted.

Although inextricably bound to our past, we have come to understand that one culture springs from another, while others are dissipated; that there is no single thing in art or culture, race or religion, that is pure. And that even purity dissipates itself. We also realize something now, perhaps we should have known all along —that underneath the color of our skin and the shape of our bones, we are all maps of our ancestors.


August 2016
Costume designs for “The Firebird”, a new ballet set in pre-Hispanic Philippines, created by choreographer George Birkadze with the original music by Igor Stravinsky. Presented by Ballet Philippines as “The Firebird and Other Ballets” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  An exhibition of these original costume designs were exhibited during the run of the show, as well as a selection of paintings including 4 works from the new “Terra Incognita” series.

January 2016
Group Exhibition: “Peninsular Practices: New Faces of Realism in Contemporary Southeast Asian Art” at Art Stage Singapore.

November 2015
Group Exhibition: “Peninsular Practices: New Faces of Realism in Contemporary Southeast Asian Art” at Asian Art in London, the United Kingdom. Exhibited two paintings from an upcoming series entitled “Terra Incognita”, a collection of work inspired by the ancient history of Southeast Asia.

June 2015
Group Exhibition: “Costume at the Turn of the Century 1990-2015”. Costume designs for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” musical, created in 1997, were selected for this exhibition in Moscow at the A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Museum in June 2015. Three artists works were included to represent the Philippines.

Group Exhibition: “Breaking and Reconstructing the Circle” at Asian Art in London, the United Kingdom. Three paintings from the “Diaspora” collection were exhibited, and included an artist’s talk.

Co-author – Book, “FASHIONABLE FILIPINAS: An Evolution of the Philippine National Dress in Photographs 1860-1960” A resource book charting the evolution of the Philippine national dress with photographs sourced from museums and institutions in the Philippines, the United States, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Co-Director, SLIM’S Fashion and Art School, Manila

A vocational training institution founded by his mother over 50 years ago. Role entails mentoring of teachers and students, curriculum development, and fundraising for scholarships.

April 2010
Group exhibition: “Full Circle: Creativity Moving Through Generations”
Yuchengco Museum, Manila

November 2009
Curator – Exhibition, “SLIM: Salvacion Lim Higgins – Philippine Haute Couture 1947-1990”

A retrospective exhibition & book launch chronicling the body of work of his mother, a fashion designer from post-WWII Philippines, at the National Museum of the Filipino People, Manila

April 2009
Solo Exhibition: Mixed Works
Three Columns Gallery, Harvard University, Cambridge U.S.A.

Co-Creator – Book, “SLIM: Salvacion Lim Higgins – Philippine Haute Couture 1947 – 1990”

Entailed extensive research and supervision of restoration of the designer’s works.

Copies of this book are now in the libraries of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Costume Institute at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

April 2008
Solo Exhibition: “Diaspora”
Plum Blossoms Gallery, Hong Kong

September 2007
Solo Exhibition: “Hybridity – Mark Lewis Higgins”
Premiere showing of “Diaspora” collection and selected retrospective works
Ayala Museum, Manila

July 2007
Solo Exhibition: “Nomads,” Selected Works
Plum Blossoms Gallery, Hong Kong

Development of “Diaspora” series

May 2006
Solo Exhibition: “Tribes”
Caelum Gallery, New York

October 2004
Solo Exhibition: “Tribes”
10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong

Development of “Tribes” series

November 2003
Solo Exhibition: “Invisible Cities”
10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong

May 2002
Private Exhibition: “Invisible Cities Series II”
New York

May 2000
Private Exhibition: “Invisible Cities Series I”
New York

Development of “Invisible Cities”

Designed ballet costumes for choreographer Agnes Locsin’s piece “The Four Last Songs” which premiered in Manila

Group exhibition
LKF Gallery, Hong Kong

Conceptualised and designed costumes for an original Philippine musical production of C.S.Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” staged in Manila for three consecutive seasons.

March 1996
Exhibition, An untitled collection of works painted between 1994 and 1996.
Touchstone Gallery, Hong Kong

Spring 1995
Group exhibition, A touring exhibition of 10 artists organized by Cyclop’Art of France
Meridian International Centre, Washington and Chateau de Dortan, France

Designed uniforms for the Hotel Inter-Continental Manila based on 19th century Philippine and Southeast Asian costume