Exhibition Dates: December 15, 2013 - January 4, 2014
LeRoy Neiman Center Window Space, 37 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL
This work partly explores a phenomenon that existed in the Philippines during the pre-colonial era, specifically, a spiritual practice manifesting in this 16th century matriarchal society: the prevailing deification and veneration of a collective of female goddesses known as “diwata.” I am focusing on “Dalikmata” (goddess with many eyes) and tying it to what later became the traditional Filipina (Philippine woman) ideal known as “Maria Clara” during the 19th century. The goal of this project is to celebrate cultural resiliency amidst four centuries of colonization, and to reclaim the Filipina ideal image. I aim to accentuate the work with my own fictionalized riffs to engender a phantasmal dialog between past and present. In doing so, I emphasize historic mistranslations and colonial hegemony that transformed these “diwata” into saints and idealized the Filipina image to a mestiza with “downcast eyes” — all with the pernicious purpose of eradicating a native faith and embellishing the ranks of the Christian faithful at the expense of Philippine culture.