curated exhibition

Sea, Land, Air: Migration and Labor

Filipinos work everywhere. On the high seas, up in the air, and on the ground. Nurse, sailor, singer, farmer, teacher, maid. These are the icons of globalized Filipino labor today. But where do they come from?

 

“Sea, Land, Air: Migration and Labor” locates these icons in the circuits of labor that emanate from the Philippines’ and its diaspora’s colonial and imperial histories. At the same time, the exhibition questions what is truthful and what is fictional in the narration of these imperial relations.

 

Over the summer of 2013, we unfolded “Sea, Land, Air” in groups designed to highlight the connections and complications that the scholarly and creative works collected here illuminate.

 

Scroll down. Explore. Comment on this rich mixture of creative and scholarly works that together reveal the global processes of economic and psychic transformation that all contemporary subjects—not just Filipinos—face. Return.

 

Co-curators: Jan Christian Bernabe and Sarita Echavez See.

 

Contributors: Filomeno V. Aguilar • Kimberly Alidio • Matthew Andrews • Michael Arcega • Tanya Bindra • Jason Cabañes • Zean Cabangis • Clement Camposano • Lonnie Carter • Catherine Ceniza Choy • Denise Cruz • Deirdre de la Cruz • Vince Diaz • Michelle Dizon • Kale Bantigue Fajardo • Theodore S. Gonzalves • Mik Gaspay • Jason Gavilan • Mark Johnson • Kat Larson • Miguel Libarnes • Claudia Liebelt • R. Zamora Linmark • Mirca Madianou • Wawi Navarroza • Jonathan C. Ong • Enrique G. Oracion, Ph.D. • Elizabeth H. Pisares • Eric Estuar Reyes • Dylan Rodriguez • Lordy Rodriguez • Robyn Magalit Rodriguez • Sarita See • Harrod Suarez • Nobue Suzuki • Stephanie Syjuco • Rolando Tolentino • Karen Tongson • Jenifer K. Wofford

 

Find the unabridged version of the curatorial statement HERE.

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Deirdre McKay

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Dr. McKay is a Senior Lecturer in Social Geography and Environmental Politics at Keele University. Previously she held appointments as a Postdoctoral Fellow and then Research Fellow in the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. McKay earned her B.A. (1st Hons) in Biology and Master's in Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University (Canada) and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of British Columbia. Dr. McKay's research draws on both social/cultural geography and social anthropology to explore people's place-based experiences of globalization and development. She is interested in the long-distance relations that connect outmigrants to their sending communities, changes in local livelihoods and the possibilities for locally sustainable, alternative economic development, and environmental degradation linked to migration. Dr. McKay does fieldwork in the global South and also with migrant communities from developing areas who have moved into the world's global cities. Much of her work has been conducted with people who originate in indigenous villages in the northern Philippines. Dr. McKay is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and edited collections. Her book, Global Filipinos: Migrants' Lives in the Virtual Village, was published in 2012 by Indiana University Press.

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  • Born: Halifax, Canada
  • Based: Keele, Staffordshire, England

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Robyn Magalit Rodriguez

b. 1973
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The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Robyn Magalit Rodriguez grew up in the Bay Area and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she majored in sociology and took classes in Asian American Studies. Two professors, Diane Fujino and John Foran, were instrumental in her intellectual formation. They took time to mentor her, and their influence was key in opening up the possibility of going on to a doctoral program. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her first faculty position was at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Rodriguez is now Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis. Her book, Migrants for Export: How the Philippines Brokers Labor to the World (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), has recently won awards from the Association of American Geographers and the Association for Asian American Studies.

Her research focuses on the Philippines and labor migration. The Philippines is a particularly interesting site for understanding the issue because it is the number one labor exporting state in the world. There, the legacies of colonialism and neoliberal economic policy become fully articulated in a regime of “labor brokerage.” Fundamentally, her work is about the ways in which globalization and neoliberalism have reconfigured states and citizenship. Both in the Philippines and in New Jersey, her scholarship is driven by concerns about how the state and citizenship are shifting under these conditions, and Rodriguez asks what these policies mean for those who are defined as “foreign” or “other.” She also pays attention to migrant labor’s political transnationalisms, focusing on the ways in which migrant workers fight back or resist. She has been tracking the transnational Philippine migrant labor movement for a long time, and she continues to do so in San Francisco.

Rodriguez’s background in Asian American studies informs her actions as an activist. Asian American studies emerged out of student movements that were fundamentally rethinking access to education and raising questions about the politics of knowledge production: who is able to produce knowledge? for what purpose? Many of the demands for departments like Asian American studies were demands for education and scholarship that was relevant to communities that have been long left out of the university. She is very much inspired by that tradition. She uses the skills she has developed as a researcher to contribute to communities. For example, she is working on a participatory action research project for Filipino caregivers in the Bay Area. These caregivers face exploitation and abuse because they often work outside of institutions, in home settings. She was asked to be part of a process of helping to equip them with the tools to do some basic research about themselves. The research prompted the migrant workers to self-organize, and in December 2012, they formed Migrante Northern California. Scholars can and should engage with publics beyond the academy, and this is the kind of work that prompted her to go into the professorship to begin with. Indeed, alongside her scholarly work, Rodriguez has always worked an activist. She was the founding member of the League of Filipino Students, the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines as well as the Collective for Critical Filipino/ Filipina Studies in the Bay Area. Being back in Northern California has allowed her to come full circle in many ways.

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  • Born: San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

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for the fortunes you've made

Wawi Navarroza

2009 Durst Lambda photograph 8 in. x 12 in. Editions of 10 + 3 AP From the Perhaps It Was Possibly Because series

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Wawi Navarroza

b. 1979
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Wawi Navarroza is a photographer/multi-disciplinary artist from Manila, Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from De La Salle University, Manila and attended continuing education at the International Center of Photography, New York. Recently, Navarroza completed her scholarship at the Istituto Europeo di Design, Madrid under the program European Master of Fine Art Photography.

Her work with contemporary photography has taken shape in highly-stylized symbolic mise-en-scène and tableau vivants, shifting to her more recent interest in landscape, constructed still life, and installation. Her landscape photographs propose a familiar 'other place' that opens up to fabricated emotional space that seems to be carved out by both personal and collective memory and amnesia.

Navarroza has exhibited widely in the Philippines and internationally. She has participated at the 2012 Tokyo Month of Photography, presented by Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; the Asian Art Biennale, in Taichung, Taiwan (2011); the annual touring exhibition "CUT: New Photography from South East Asia," by Valentine Willie Fine Art (VWFA) Kuala Lumpur; ASEAN-Korea’s "Emerging Wave" Asian Contemporary Photography Exhibition in Seoul, Korea (2010); and "Verso Manila: contemporary art from the Philippines" in Turin, Italy (2009). She has also been shown at Angkor Photography Festival Cambodia, Noorderlicht Photography Festival Holland, and PhotoIreland.

Recent solo exhibits include "ULTRAMAR, Pt.1: Gathered Throng, Falling Into Place" (2012) and "Dominion" (2011), at Silverlens Gallery, Manila, and "On Landscapes and Some Dislocations" at Galería Patrick Domken, Cadaqués, Spain. She has received a number of awards, such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Thirteen Artists Awards Triennial (2012), Lumi Photographic Art Awards, Helsinki (2011), and she was a finalist for the prestigious Sovereign Asian Art Prize (2011) and Singapore Museum Signature Art Prize (2011). Other awards include International Photography Awards (2010), Portfolio Preis (2010, Germany), and Prix de la Photographie Paris (2009). She has staged two award-winning solo exhibitions: “POLYSACCHARIDE: The Dollhouse Drama” (2005) and “SATURNINE: A Collection of Portraits, Creatures, Glass, and Shadow” (2007), which was cited Winner at the Ateneo Art Awards 2007, Philippines. In 2009, Navarroza was awarded the first Asian Cultural Council-Silverlens Fellowship Grant to further her research and practice in New York City.

Her work has been shown in institutions such as the National Museum of the Philippines, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery, Hangaram Museum, Korea, National Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, and Fries Museum of Contemporary Art, Netherlands.

Navarroza has also worked as a lecturer of photography at De La Salle University and as an independent curator. She also sings for a post-punk rock band called The Late Isabel. In the past few years she has based herself in Madrid, Barcelona and Cadaqués, Spain. Currently, Navarroza is working and living in Manila, Philippines.

Photograph by Gabby Cantero.

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  • Born: Manila, Philippines
  • Based: Manila, Philippines

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Sarita Echavez See

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Sarita Echavez See was born in New York City but raised as an "embassy brat" moving from city to city around the world. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she first became involved with U.S. women of color politics, especially the arts and culture movement. She obtained her Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. While studying in New York City, she met the Filipino American artists and writers who inspired and continue to inspire her teaching and scholarship. In 2013, she joined the faculty of the University of California, Riverside, where she is an associate professor of Media and Cultural Studies. She previously taught at Williams College, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California, Davis. Her research and teaching interests include Asian American and Filipino American cultural critique, postcolonial and empire studies, narrative, and theories of gender and sexuality. She is the author of the book-length study The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), in which she argues that contemporary Filipino American forms of aesthetic and performative abstraction powerfully expose and indict the history of American imperialism as itself a form of abstraction. She is at work on the book-length project “Against Accumulation,” which is a study of the politics of accumulation in the American museum and university and of the politics of anti-accumulation in Filipino American theatre, writing, and visual art. She was one of the core organizers of the 2011 conference "Critical Ethnic Studies and the Future of Genocide" held at the University of California, Riverside, and she has served as a member of the working board of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association. In her work with the Center for Art and Thought and its focus on the contemporary medium of the digital, she envisions CA+T to be a transnational venue for more meaningful, reciprocal encounters between artists and scholars, and she is committed to fostering new forms of literacy, rather than tutelage, and to the transformation, rather than the mere transmission and replication, of knowledge.

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  • Born: New York, NY, USA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA

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House/Boy (script)

Nicky Paraiso

2004 Playscript 38 pages. Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Slaff. Courtesy of Nicky Paraiso.

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Nicky Paraiso

Nicky Paraiso is an actor, musician, writer, performance artist and curator.  He is currently Director of Programming for The Club at La MaMa, and is responsible for its surge of theater, performance, dance and cabaret programming.  He is also a Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, currently in its eighth season (June 2013).  Nicky is a graduate of Oberlin College/Conservatory and holds an M.F.A. from New York University's Graduate Acting Program.  He has been a prolific actor at La MaMa, and in New York downtown theater and performance, since 1979.  Paraiso has been a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble (1981-1990), touring extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan.  He has worked as an actor and musical director with playwright/actor/director Jeff Weiss and his partner Carlos Ricardo Martinez since 1979, and he has performed with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks since 1988.  Paraiso has also enjoyed working as a performer with artists as diverse as Anne Bogart, Laurie Carlos, Richard Elovich, Dan Froot, Jessica Hagedorn, Fred Holland, Dan Hurlin, John Jesurun, Jeffrey M. Jones, Robbie McCauley, Susan Mosakowski, Ralph Peña, Mary Shultz, Theodora Skipitares and many others.  Nicky is also a critically-acclaimed solo performance artist, whose one-man shows Asian Boys, Houses and Jewels and House/Boy have been presented at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club [ETC], Dixon Place, Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop and on tour in the US, Europe and Asia.  House/Boy was recently presented at the Dublin Theatre Festival and also at the Initiation International Festival 2007 in Singapore.  

Paraiso's awards include a 1987 New York Dance & Performance BESSIE Award, a 2004 Spencer Cherashore Fund grant for mid-career actors, and a 2005 New York Innovative Theater Award for his performance in Theodora Skipitares’ Iphigenia.  He has served on various theater, dance and music panels, and he has also been a member of the New York Dance and Performance Awards BESSIES Selection Committee since 2006.  Nicky is a recipient of the 2012 BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award.  His writing appears in the anthology Love, Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City (Vantage Point, 2012), edited by Thomas Keith.

Photograph by Gian Marco Lo Forte.



 

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  • Born: Flushing, NY, USA
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

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I Heart Arizona

Mik Gaspay

2010 Watercolor on paper 24 in. x 18 in.

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Mik Gaspay

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Mik Gaspay is an interdisciplinary artist who primarily works with found objects, painting and sculpture. His practice investigates translated meanings of commonplace products and structures: drawing from the tension between functionality, purpose and language he conjures up expressions fused from readymade signification, history and uncertainty. His work queries for meanings embedded in the materials within objects we consume and encompass our lives with.

Mik Gaspay was born in Quezon City, Philippines and migrated to Palo Alto, California at the age of 9. He received a B.F.A. in Illustration/Design from the California College of Arts and Crafts and later attended the California College of the Arts for his M.F.A. He currently lives and works in San Francisco, California.

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  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: San Francisco, CA, USA

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I think about that conversation

Wawi Navarroza

2009 Durst Lambda photograph 11 in. x 14 in. Editions of 10 + 3 AP From the Perhaps It Was Possibly Because series

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Wawi Navarroza

b. 1979
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Wawi Navarroza is a photographer/multi-disciplinary artist from Manila, Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from De La Salle University, Manila and attended continuing education at the International Center of Photography, New York. Recently, Navarroza completed her scholarship at the Istituto Europeo di Design, Madrid under the program European Master of Fine Art Photography.

Her work with contemporary photography has taken shape in highly-stylized symbolic mise-en-scène and tableau vivants, shifting to her more recent interest in landscape, constructed still life, and installation. Her landscape photographs propose a familiar 'other place' that opens up to fabricated emotional space that seems to be carved out by both personal and collective memory and amnesia.

Navarroza has exhibited widely in the Philippines and internationally. She has participated at the 2012 Tokyo Month of Photography, presented by Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; the Asian Art Biennale, in Taichung, Taiwan (2011); the annual touring exhibition "CUT: New Photography from South East Asia," by Valentine Willie Fine Art (VWFA) Kuala Lumpur; ASEAN-Korea’s "Emerging Wave" Asian Contemporary Photography Exhibition in Seoul, Korea (2010); and "Verso Manila: contemporary art from the Philippines" in Turin, Italy (2009). She has also been shown at Angkor Photography Festival Cambodia, Noorderlicht Photography Festival Holland, and PhotoIreland.

Recent solo exhibits include "ULTRAMAR, Pt.1: Gathered Throng, Falling Into Place" (2012) and "Dominion" (2011), at Silverlens Gallery, Manila, and "On Landscapes and Some Dislocations" at Galería Patrick Domken, Cadaqués, Spain. She has received a number of awards, such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Thirteen Artists Awards Triennial (2012), Lumi Photographic Art Awards, Helsinki (2011), and she was a finalist for the prestigious Sovereign Asian Art Prize (2011) and Singapore Museum Signature Art Prize (2011). Other awards include International Photography Awards (2010), Portfolio Preis (2010, Germany), and Prix de la Photographie Paris (2009). She has staged two award-winning solo exhibitions: “POLYSACCHARIDE: The Dollhouse Drama” (2005) and “SATURNINE: A Collection of Portraits, Creatures, Glass, and Shadow” (2007), which was cited Winner at the Ateneo Art Awards 2007, Philippines. In 2009, Navarroza was awarded the first Asian Cultural Council-Silverlens Fellowship Grant to further her research and practice in New York City.

Her work has been shown in institutions such as the National Museum of the Philippines, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery, Hangaram Museum, Korea, National Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, and Fries Museum of Contemporary Art, Netherlands.

Navarroza has also worked as a lecturer of photography at De La Salle University and as an independent curator. She also sings for a post-punk rock band called The Late Isabel. In the past few years she has based herself in Madrid, Barcelona and Cadaqués, Spain. Currently, Navarroza is working and living in Manila, Philippines.

Photograph by Gabby Cantero.

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  • Born: Manila, Philippines
  • Based: Manila, Philippines

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Kimberly Alidio

b. 1971
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Kimberly Alidio wrote After projects the resound (Black Radish, 2016) and The Sky Forever (Writ Large/ The Accomplices, 2019). She received a doctorate from the University of Michigan, held and left a tenure-track position at the University of Texas’ History Department/ Center for Asian American Studies, and won residencies and fellowships from the National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation, the University of Illinois’ Asian American Studies Program, Kundiman, VONA/ Voices, Naropa’s Summer Writing Program, and the Center for Art and Thought. Most recently from East Austin, Texas, she lives and writes in Tucson, Arizona.

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  • Born: Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Based: Tucson, AZ, USA

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Insatiable

Zean Cabangis

2012 Acrylic and emulsion transfer on canvas 30 in. x 48 in. Courtesy of Art Informal

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Zean Cabangis

b. 1985

Zean Cabangis took his Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Painting from the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines, Diliman (2007). He won Most Outstanding Thesis of 2006. A consistent college scholar, Zean was an Artist-in-Residence with the Southeast Asia Art Group Exchange (SAGE) program in  Tenggara, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2011).

Zean has had five solo shows and several group exhibitions in various Manila-based galleries. Zean has also been an exhibiting artist at local and international art fairs such as Art Stage Singapore 2013 and Art Fair Philippines 2013.  He was short-listed for the Ateneo Art Awards in 2012.

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  • Born: Tayabas, Quezon Province, Philippines
  • Based: Manila, Philippines

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Kimberly Alidio

b. 1971
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Kimberly Alidio wrote After projects the resound (Black Radish, 2016) and The Sky Forever (Writ Large/ The Accomplices, 2019). She received a doctorate from the University of Michigan, held and left a tenure-track position at the University of Texas’ History Department/ Center for Asian American Studies, and won residencies and fellowships from the National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation, the University of Illinois’ Asian American Studies Program, Kundiman, VONA/ Voices, Naropa’s Summer Writing Program, and the Center for Art and Thought. Most recently from East Austin, Texas, she lives and writes in Tucson, Arizona.

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  • Born: Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Based: Tucson, AZ, USA

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