Monday, March 31, 2008

Project 2 Artworks

Here are 9 of the 26 works of art created for Project 2: Marginality as Resistance.
The full project description can be found here.

Project 2 Hazel Benigno:
"Not for Sale"

presented in performance:
Not For Sale

The inspiration for my project came from learning about the Not For Sale campaign, a group determined to eradicate modern-day slavery and human trafficking. This made me wonder about the marginalization of Filipino women and how they have been treated like commodities ever since the onset of the Western influence.

The upper right corner of the piece is a reference d the pre-Spanish status of Filipinas and, more specifically, towards Gabriela Silang, considered to be the first woman revolutionary of the Philippines. What’s more, she led a revolt against the Spanish in the Ilocos region, the same area where the Cordillera mountain range can be found. The background indicates importance, as Cordillera tribes used a deep indigo blue in their clothing for important people and significant occasions. The quote is a line from “Skim the Sheen,” a poem by Eileen Tabios and Nick Carbo, part of which has Gabriela Silang reprimanding Maria Clara, the lead female character in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere.

The bottom right corner looks at Cordillera women from the early 1900s until now, and how they were never “conquered” by colonization and were able to maintain their culture. However, even though they maintain their traditions, it is still possible for them to be exploited. As the photo of the two older women shows, some tribe members may be used to take pictures for tourist purposes. The question is if these tribe members are compensated and willing for their services. The brown background is meant to resemble skin, and the designs as tattoos, which Cordillera women use on important individuals and as a sign of beauty.

The bottom left corner looks at the transformation of traditional Filipina costumes, and how they have become modernized. However, they are presented on faceless, featureless mannequins, paralleled to how women are constantly judged based on what’s on them rather than what’s within them. White was used amongst the Cordillera tribes as a sort of “common denominator” color, and the patterns are similar to those found on traditional Filipina costumes.

Finally, the top left corner looks at the jarring reality of modern-day women and the ever-present possibility of being sold into the sex-slave trade. Some of the women in the pictures are looking at the other women in the piece, some with a forlorn longing to possess the strength they see in others but fail to recognize in themselves. There is a red tint to the background and pictures, as the Cordillera tribes use red to signify bravery in battle and someone of high honor.

I used coconut oil and sindur powder to paint the backgrounds and color my hands to signify how women are used and restrained. It has been said that a coconut tree is all a person needs to live because it is very useful, just as women have been used for all they offer. Sindur powder has been traditionally used to mark Hindi women as brides, but can also be seen as a restriction that only gives value to women if they have men attached to their names. Putting it on my hands is my challenge to me and others to take the first step in claiming responsibility for the struggles that women often face but never speak about. The whole piece is shaped as a circle to call to mind the idea that unless we recognize the marginalization of women, even in modern society and at a seeming high of women’s powers and rights, this pattern and similar events will continue. The center has the Not For Sale logo on a Cordillera woman to show that our victories and struggles are not for sale. Our culture and traditions are not for sale. Our creativity and abilities are not for sale. Our women and all women should not be for sale.

Project 2 MAS:

Project 2 AM:

Project 2 JI:

Project 2 DC:
underneath, detail:
underneath, detail:

Project 2 Matt Montenegro:
"Ang Sabihin Ng Manong"

I often wondered what kind of people it took to “write back to the center”, after facing constant struggle and hardships. After being marginalized so much throughout history, how could people manage to get their voices heard? In this project “Marginality as Resistance” what exactly were the tenants trying to say before, during, and after the eviction from the I-Hotel. I focused on one person in particular, Emil DeGuzman who is now the President of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation and former President of the International Hotel Tenants Association. So I read a statement that DeGuzman gave during the 24th Eviction Commemoration, and he quoted a line from Dr. Martin Luther King saying “We suffered, ‘despair when there was no light in a tunnel of darkness.” And he further discussed that these tenants and the people who struggled with them were on an uncharted direction, and the only way is to head towards the light, towards a brighter tomorrow.

So my project consists of quotes on poster board from an article taken from the San Francisco Chronicle which wrote about the I-Hotel eviction 30 years later. The article interviewed Emil DeGuzman as well as Gordon Chinn who is the executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center, who helped develop the building at 848 Kearny St. And this project is composed of a live element, something that lets me get in touch emotionally to the people who suffered. I am going to tape my mouth with a dollar bill and the quote written on it states: “I was brutalized myself personally…I was taken out of the building, dragged down the street.” And I am also going to tie my hands together with straps. The feeling that I wanted to get at is often times during Post-Colonialism people who are being marginalized never get their word across. They are either silenced, the tape around the mouth, or bought (with me using the dollar bill), or tied up and silenced. After watching that I-Hotel film I was just really touched emotionally because of what these tenants went through, not only the Manongs and the Filipinas, but the Chinese immigrants as well. I hope this piece speaks for itself without me having to say anything.

Project 2 LM:

Project 2 MI:

According to labor department and sources written on Feb. 6th 2008 there have been 4 million child workers between the ages of 5 and 17, more than half of who work in the agriculture sector but many are also employed in sugar cane farms, domestic work, quarrying and pyrotechnics production. The U.S. has provided the Philippines 5.5 million to help combat the use of child labor.

The Philippines have a long history of legislation aimed at protecting the rights and welfare of children starting in 1974 when the labor code of the Philippines set the minimum age of employment to 15 yrs and prohibited the employment of persons below 18 years old in anything hazardous undertaking. Most recently, the republican act Number 9231 amends act 7610, which provides protection of children against abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, and employment in illicit activities, by embodying the state policy to provide special and stiffer protection from the mentioned. It spells out the hours of work; ownership, usage and administration of the working child's income. In addition it also ensures working children's access to education and training, and immediate legal, medical and psychological services.

The progression of this issue is obviously growing in a positive direction especially with the aid of the U.S. I feel it is of utmost importance that the programs that are created to protect the children are accompanied with a very functional oversight team to monitor the children’s attendance in school and assess that they are not being exploited. The issue of child labor is largely an issue of marginalization. The children are invisible and marginalized both economically and socially.

Project 2 Melissa Sayo:

Throughout the pre-introduction to this assignment the one image that really stuck into my mind was the whitening soap that has reached all Filipino households. I discussed my ideas with my friends of whom are not Filipino and they could not grasp the concept of why whitening soap was so widely used in the Filipino Culture. This conversation only fueled my ideas of creating the image of how much the Americas and Spanish influence have had on us, not only from our culture and everyday living but also from our looks and how our internal family has brought this on to us even after the their reign over the Philippines. The term “mistisa or mistiso” is a term that has affected many households including mine. From internal scrutinizing about a certain families skin color or the height of their nose we as a culture are bringing ourselves down and not letting our natural features exemplify who we are.

I decided to draw this shower head scene as a representation of how we have been influenced by others and made seem to us that those words being taught were magical, but in reality they have only washed away who we are and we are just trying to wash ourselves away as a culture. Even today we still see it as being acceptable to continually whiten ourselves to make our complexion similar to what we think is superior. Though, it is very ironic that the people whom we are trying to emulate are trying to do the reverse and gain a more golden brown tone similar to ours. There are also clashes in ourselves to define who we are as Filipino-Americans, which I feel is the division that I have created in the two different soaps.

I also saw my tub as a “melting pot”, but what we have been taught to know from the melting pot is the ideology of multiple cultures mixing into one, but that goal has not been reached. Although as United States Citizens we try not to compromise ourselves and try to find a healthy divide between our various identities. Whether some are mixing and some have fought back to make a clear distinction between where they are and where they come from.

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