(P24) (Dis)locating Kababayan: Unstable Communities in Global Philippine Art and Visual Culture
Wed 09:00-10:30 K12 | 1.12
- Jessamine Batario Colby College Museum of Art
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El Grito del Revolucion: Hispanic memorialisation in U.S. colonial Philippines
Kimberley Weir University of Nottingham
Born in Spanish colonial Philippines in 1863, little is known about the early life of Andres Bonifacio, the man who would become the head or Supremo of the Katipunan, the organisation secretly established to unite the Philippines and overthrow Spanish rule. On 23 August 1896 Bonifacio and his fellow Katipuneros signaled their break with Spain by tearing their cédulas personales (tax identification cards), an event that came to be known as the Cry of Pugad Lawin or the Cry of Balintawak. However, despite initiating the Philippine Revolution, Bonifacio was gradually eclipsed by the greater military successes of Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the First Republic of the Philippines. Following Bonifacio’s continued opposition of the president; he was executed by Aguinaldo’s forces on 10 May 1897. Eighteen months later the Spanish ceded control of the Philippines to the United States under the Treaty of Paris.
This paper explores the Hispanicised commemoration of Bonifacio in the first three decades of the twentieth century, despite the Philippines being under United States colonial rule. Through an analysis of two monuments erected to Bonifacio during this period, this paper contends that a shared memorial discourse existed between the Philippines and the broader Hispanic diaspora, which was not only shaped by a long history of cultural exchange but mutual experiences of empire, with increased Hispanic and Philippine migration to the United States.
The United States government, under the guise of the Philippine Commission, sought to deconstruct the “bayan” and reshape Philippine topography in order to cement its rule of the islands. However, I argue that the Hispanicised visual discourse around the memorialisation of Bonifacio and the Philippine Revolution demonstrated the mutability of the “bayan” whilst undermining the United States’ attempts to monopolise both “bayan” and empire.
Practice and Performance of Filipinos in World Heritage Sites
Louise Liwanag Independant researcher
The irony of Filipinos hailing fellow Filipinos whilst outside of the Philippines is, as the panel explains, relates to “loss and otherness” which I build upon by taking it to the realm of cultural heritage. First, preserving heritage itself is about losing place—and a sense of place—that is never fully assuaged despite perpetually matched efforts to regain it. Second, Filipinos’ heritage-making outside the nation takes the form of community and gathering as Filipinos over informal and mundane activities at the level of ritual. This paper demonstrates this claiming of heritage by Filipinos as performance, however an unstable one in Europe in particular, where cultural heritage is oriented for economic development. The European Union, is the region with the most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, around which a large presence of Filipinos live and/or work. Although the majority do not directly work in the specialised domain and high-value added activity of these sites’ knowledge-creation, they are nevertheless inextricable to these sites. They constitute many communities, along shared geographical, cultural, and social lines, on the daily, which also operate to secure their assimilation, residence and employment in a given area. Engaged by their localities to participate in the preservation, presentation and promotion of their urban cultural heritage, Filipinos are brought into contact with yet another community: the community of practice. Intersecting this concept with the political idea of imagined communities and applying thus to heritage making, Adell, et.al. (2015) explain that “individuals devoted to maintaining, restoring or reviving a cultural tradition may form a community of practice, not necessarily sharing ethnic identities but cooperating for the sake of shared political or economic interests.” A community of practice, this paper argues, is not unlike the concept of the nation that Homi Bhabha has critiqued and with which he has explained that people perform as subjects suspended of origin. It is through this disavowal, as well as of time and place, by Filipinos that the nation they left out of need banks on. Between other communities of practice and Philippine national policies that incentivise large-scale out-migration, Filipinos perform communities dislocated and found in magnificent sites around the world.
Saan Man Sa Mundo, May Pilipino: Stories of Filipinos in Diaspora in the Age of Contemporary Philippine TV and Cinema
Mary Carmel Evangelista Taipei National University of the Arts
The surge of Filipino labor migrants abroad is an unprecedented phenomenon experienced by the Philippines. As a sending state of human resources, labor migration has become ingrained in the culture of Filipinos. As a result, a rather formal term “Overseas Filipino Workers” (OFWs) was coined to further recognize the invaluable contribution of the Filipino migrants to the domestic economy. This phenomenon allowed mediums such as television and film to start a new wave of content creation focusing on the stories on struggles and successes of OFWs.
This paper aims to locate the role of local media production companies such as Star Cinema, TBA Studios, and Dreamscape Productions and focus on their respective OFW-centric contents such as Milan, Hello, Love, Goodbye, Sunday Beauty Queen, and On the Wings of Love - as an intermediary between Filipinos in diaspora and the domestic audience in the Philippines by acting as the silent narrator of the Philippines’ labor-fueled diasporic history. With the guidance of Anderson, a new imagined community driven by labor characterization is observed through these contemporary mediums which shape a new cultural identity for new generation Filipinos.
The imagining of a national community expediently homogenized people, linearized time, and reconfigured language in the late 19th- to early 20th-century Philippines. The Tagalog word “bayan” (town), the center of power, for example, superseded vernacular designations of the periphery such as “bukid” (farm or countryside) and assumed the
equivalent translation of the modern ‘nation-state’ or, ironically, ‘country.’ But what happens when diaspora has reconfigured the ideological notion of “bayan” and the reciprocal framework of “kababayan” (someone who belongs to the same nation)? Interestingly, the interpellation of “kababayan” often occurs when Filipinos have left the
“bayan.” “Kababayan,” therefore, exists in relation to loss and otherness precisely in an attempt to establish instant kinship outside the unstable “bayan.” With approximately 12 million Filipinos living abroad across 100 countries and often through multiple generations, this panel aims to problematize and accommodate the changing spatiotemporal
contexts through which art and culture are produced inside and outside the Philippines. Engaging in a transdisciplinary discourse to represent differing notions of “bayan” that is perpetually in flux, lacking singularity, and existing between forms and meanings rather than a nostalgic gaze towards a defunct place and time, the panel seeks papers that explore instability, ambiguity, and suspension as the defining characteristics of global Philippine art and visual culture.