Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Project 2 Artwork

Here are 8 of the 26 works of art created for
Project 2: Marginality as Resistance
The full project description can be found here.

Project 2 AI:
"Sweet Philippines"

For the second project, I had a chance to consider how can I make an artwork by using at least one non-traditional art material. It was a challenging project because I did not guts to use pig blood or Cheetos for my artwork. So then, I decided to use something sweet: Sugar.

Sugar is one of the most profitable exports the Philippines. The origin of the sugar industry is actually linked to the slavery and colonialism in Africa to Caribbean. The European colonialists brought almost 12 million sugar canes from West Africa to the Caribbean with slavery from 1450 to 1900. Having a lot of workers was necessary since sugar cane is a delicate plant. During harvest season, slaves were worked every single second till their death. Back then sugar has become major commodity after the introduction of tea, coffee, and chocolate. Westerners demanded sugar and it became an important export product. Since then, the sugar industry became popular in the colonies.

Nevertheless, the Filipino sugar industry has nothing to do with the slave trade, but it does relate to the colonization. In the 1860s, Negros Occidental was the leading sugar producing province in the Philippine during Spanish colonization. By the early 1900s, the sugar industry was well established by the American colonialists. They boosted the industry and export to the states became much easier by establishing Payne-Aldrich Act. The Act created a situation in which the gap between rich and poor grew even greater in Philippines. I thought this history of sugar industry is one of the most striking symbols of Filipino colonization. Now the Sugar is one of most important agriculture products in the Philippines.

For my project, I made cookies in the shape of the Filipino islands. Also, I made a cake with on illustration of the Filipino flag. Cookies and cake are the magical snacks that charms everybody, especially kids. During the colonial period when colonial powers competed against each other for control of the profitable industry, just how Westerners demanded sugar, kids today compete against each other to obtain big piece of cake and cookies. Also, sweet desserts are Filipinos favorite. Sugar has been a valuable seasoning in Filipino cuisine; there are different varieties of sweets. And they grow up with sugar. I tried to make a reflection of the sweetness of the Philippines, how others demanded to take over it, and to alter it into sweets by using their profitable product: cookies and cake.

Project 2 DFM:
video still, "Conversations with Women"

In this project of “writing” back to center, I have considered the histories of women in general, and explicitly dealt with both the personal and political implications of relinquishing one’s power. I began this project by interpreting different strategies and philosophies female artists have used to respond to the history of oppression inflicted upon women by both men and themselves. I specifically took note of the Toni Morrison essay in which she spoke of her writing as a means of pulling the veil aside over hidden histories of peoples whose “interior” lives were never exposed. Morrison spoke of how critical it is to discover truths about one’s ancestors, especially for any person who belongs to any marginalized category. Because women are among those who have been marginalized, (arguably the first marginalized group), its important for women to participate in “the discourse even when we [are] its topic.” (Morrison) It’s imperative for women to articulate and reclaim their identities from men and from the cultural stereotypes they themselves uphold.

My project is a 4 1/2 minute long video piece, transferred onto VHS. The piece entitled “Conversations with Women” is a Reappropriation Narrative of the female condition. It begins with footage of Senator Clinton from a Democratic primary debate, in which she mentions her feelings have been hurt. I incorporated this footage multiple times in my piece. I believe it is up to each individual woman to define herself - women aren’t as helpless or as powerless as they/it’s believed. I sought out footage of young women and girls from film and the internet to produce a broad linear construction of what women are perpetually identified as to answer questions of/inquire further - inherent female colonialism. I shot these images with my DV camera and manipulated/recontextualized them in iMovie.

Project 2 ST:

Project 2 Val Fernandez:

This piece is an expansion of a previous project of mine completed last year. It is the visual accompaniment to a fifteen page analysis paper on the Native Guns song “Work It” which reflects on the relationship between first world economies and their violation of labor rights of third world, developing economies. In this piece, I am no longer Valerie, the Filipino American Arts Student. “My name is Marie, age thirteen. At the age of eighteen [I’ll] be learning to dance for dirty Japanese businessmen, money for the family.” I am a shoemaker at the Nike factory and I am just trying to survive with the cards dealt to me in this game called life.

I have altered my experience as a shoemaker in one significant way, one that differs greatly from Marie’s. The material used for my shoe (a banana leaf) symbolizes the indigenous materials of the Philippines, in contrast to the man-made materials used to construct modern-day shoes. This piece is an attack on the exploitation of young children and the loss of culture and identity due to this exploitation. I know it is not at all comparable to the work that the real life “Maries” put in during their jobs, but this shoe-making process served not only as an art project for me, but rather, more as a personal reflection on my appreciation for the cards that have been dealt to me in my own life.

Project 2 CJA:

Project 2 NNC:
Project 2 PC:

Project 2 KB:

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