Filipiñana Install

I have moved repeatedly within my native and adoptive country since childhood. These migrations created not only geographic shifts, but also an intricate familial and personal disconnect interposed with cultural fusion and perplexity. As a result, my work explores psychological and socio-political themes surrounding liminal identity, cultural assimilation, and the Filipino/a diaspora, tempered by my experience as a Filipina immigrant living in the United States. In this vein, I examine oxymoronic concepts of assimilation and repudiation, reductive and additive, permanence and temporality, and the complicit relationship between colonizer and colonized. My current work navigates through the colonial history of the piña fiber in the Philippines and its relationship with the idea of Maria Clara — the Maria Clara-esque ideals of beauty and status, accompanied by stereotypes of chastity, demureness, light skin, passivity, and subordination. Popular Philippine concepts regarding beauty and status center on the normalization of skin-whitening products and championing of imported goods. My work presents and challenges the unbalanced power structure resulting from the inferiorization of native ideals by the colonizer, and its lasting impression of colonial mentality. Through the process of repetitive layering and a palette evoking skin tones, I utilize the tactility of specific materials such as image transfers on piña fiber and synthetic organza to extract and repudiate these imposed ideals and stereotypes — material remnants intertwined with cultural legacies.