Tim Manalo was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Growing up in a city rich with multiculturalism, he has always been exposed to Philippine culture through the city’s large Filipino community. A graduate of OCAD University’s sculpture and installation program, Manalo explores ideas of hybridity and identity in his works. He has an extensive background as a sculptor and fabricator for companies, catering industries focused in interior design, commercial outdoor displays, and costume and props. Currently, he continues his art practice in the heart of downtown Toronto. He is also very involved with the Filipino arts community, volunteering as an arts-based workshop facilitator for newcomer and at-risk Filipino youth.
In the piece Balut, I reflect on my position as someone who was born and raised in Canada but whose parents originated from the Philippines. This work is about my Filipino upbringing conflicting with the Westernized norm that I was confronted with during lunchtime in elementary school. Because Filipino dishes were not recognized as mainstream food, it resulted in my Filipino shame as a child as I would try to assimilate to the culture of the classroom. Balut is a hard-boiled duck fetus egg. In the Philippines it’s a popular delicacy, but in North America it’s a taboo. Balut in Tagalog also translates as “pack up” in English, which goes back to the origins of my Filipino upbringing and family migrating from the Philippines. Mimicking the light box used in harvesting balut eggs, the light inside the bag’s hole turns on only when it’s daytime in the Philippines and turns off when it’s nighttime—a daily reminder of our connection to a homeland that helped raise us, especially through food.
- Born: Toronto, ON, Canada
- Based: Toronto, ON, Canada