Maia Cruz Palileo: Long Kwento
Don’t Miss our Kimball Art Center Book Club Discussion on April 27, 2022, The Woman Who Had Two Navels by Nick Joaquin
Influenced by the oral history of the artist’s family’s arrival to the United States from the Philippines, as well as the history between the two countries, Maia Cruz Palileo investigates larger questions pertaining to identity, history, migration, and concepts of time. Infusing narratives with both memory and imagination, Palileo translates diverse materials into a novel formal language to describe a new world of their own making.
This exhibition of new paintings and sculptures stems from research Palileo conducted at the Newberry Library in Chicago, which has one of the largest collections of Filipiniana in the world (comprising the collections of Edward E. Ayer, an American who assembled a vast trove of Phillippine 17th and 18th-century manuscripts upon US victory over the Spanish at Manila Bay in 1898; and the photographic archive of Dean C. Worcester, an influential and controversial figure in the early years of American presence in the Philippines). These varied documents, spanning centuries and cultures, offered a kaleidoscopic vision of the Philippines as seen through numerous eyes, and recalled by Westerners.
Palileo recontextualizes these stories, portraits, and images in an attempt to resuscitate these figures from the exploitative gaze of these ethnographic images. Inspired by Damián Domingo, Palileo’s expressive, gestural paintings imbue a sense of humanity and dignity to the subjects. Palileo integrates historical narratives from the colonial past of the Philippines with stories and memories of life as a Filipinx American growing up in the United States, producing paintings that possess dream-like qualities that hover between fact and fiction. Combining Palileo’s extensive research with narratives of American Imperialism, beginning with the Filipino-American war, and the artist’s own understanding of a fractured and complex past, the work evokes nostalgia and romanticism while critiquing the ramifications of colonization, past and present.
This exhibition is organized by CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco and supported by Utah Division of Arts & Museums, National Endowment for the Arts, Summit County RAP Tax, Summit County Restaurant Tax, Utah Office of Tourism, Rachel and Larry Gilbert, Susan and Glenn Rothman, and Julie and Bradley Senet.
Maia Cruz Palileo, Wind, Water, Stone (detail), 2020. Oil on canvas, 48 x 124 inches. Courtesy of the San Jose Museum of Art. Museum purchase with funds provided by Tad J. Freese and Brook Hartzell, the Lipman Family Foundation, and Yvonne and Mike Nevens, in honor of Cheryl and Bruce Kiddoo. 2021.01