Rising Tide: the occurrence of incoming water (between a low tide and the following high tide); an increase in the amount or strength of something, especially something that you must oppose
On the night of November 8, 2016, an all-encompassing numbness and crippling fear swept over me. Waves of hate, racism, ignorance, and misogyny crept closer and closer to my internal peace. I felt like I was drowning. The news that followed in the months after the election brought no reprieve. I wholeheartedly believed that I, along with the rest of the world, was falling into a dystopic abyss.
Then something happened. Something switched. Instead of crumbling within themselves, people began coming together to fight these oppressions. Waves of strength, activism, art, and patience flowed through the world like warm, peaceful rolling tides in the ocean. News articles shifted from hate and anger to love and empowerment. It was as though the tide needed to make a drastic shift to wake us from our sleepy slumbers and become aware of the evils that have been happening. It took this rise in tide to strengthen our positivity and bring our souls back to life.
In the year since the election, I learned to deliberately surround myself with people and practices that allow my soul to thrive. Empowered by the women who have stood against the tide, I am now armed with weapons that enable me to push forward and join my compatriots as we fight the wrongdoings of this world. As long as we’re forcefully partaking in movements and creating together, art and love will overcome.
This exhibition combines two things I love dearly—process art and my kapamilya (family in Tagalog). The family is an integral aspect of Philippine culture, with members depending heavily on each other for support and abundance. However, as a Filipino-American, I believe it is important to become an individual and shape your own life while staying true to your family’s beliefs. To me, kapamilya is about the dynamics and congruency of a family that stem from each member’s role.
Therefore, my process in creating these portraits of my brother, sister, mother, father, grandma, and grandpa is a metaphor for kapamilya. I worked on all the pieces at the same time, allowing them to grow and evolve together, shaping each other and shaping the way I approached them. I learned from one portrait to the next what worked and what did not. As experimentation turned into knowledge, my process imitated the way a family grows based on the successes and failures of one another, along with how each member can maintain a distinct identity despite the family’s commonalities.
Deforestation in the Philippines
This installation is a reaction to the shocking realities of deforestation and endangerment of Philippine biodiversity as a result of government corruption, poverty, and money. Some interesting facts I discovered during my research are that 93% of the original forest cover in the Philippines has been cut down over the past 500 years; approximately 123,000 hectares are cut down every year; and at this rate by the year 2036 there may be no more forest left.
Unfortunately, the Philippines is such a poor country that it needs to generate as much income as possible through any means necessary, even if that means is destroying its own land. I created this installation to spread awareness about the exploitation of natural resources in third world countries in the hopes of inspiring others to act towards improving global sustainability.