We were lucky enough to meet some of the artists who will participate to the exhibition Balik Bayan. During their photoshoot, we could talk to them and even ask a few questions about their work.
Marikit Santiago was the first artist we met, and she is way more than she seems to be. She is not just an artist, but she is also a mother. She really cares about the Filipino culture and wants to be able “to extend family traditions and customs to the next generation”.
Indeed, during Balik Bayan, she will present “a large body of work that includes paintings as well as installation work”. And not only that, “the overarching themes of the body of work [will] investigate and articulate a personal conflict of cultural plurality at the conjunction of Filipina ethnicity and Australian nationality”.
Therefore, Santiago really wants to connect those two world -Australia and Philippines, as she tries to get closer to the Filipino community. That is why she decided to participate to Balik Bayan, because this opportunity would allow her “to show [her] work to and with the Filipino community with whom [she] feel[s] removed from and part of, simultaneously”, and to “meet with other Filipino artists” of course.
Besides, we can really understand how hard it must be to handle her ethnicity and nationality, that are so different. But this explain why during the exhibition, her work will “access Filipino literature, mythology, politics, popular culture and religion” so it can “reflect [her] oscillating perceptions of [her] dual cultural identities”.
As a matter of fact, this project really is the kind of opportunity Marikit was waiting for, since she feels that she is not “well established in the Filipino art community”. But thanks to Balik Bayan, she could finally “embrace and make connections with this community that [she] currently feel[s] somewhat removed from”.
Lastly, if we only focus on Marikit’s work, it is “a reflection of the interweaving cultures of [her] ethnic identity as a process of understanding [her] position within cultural plurality”, as she said before. So her art really helped her to understand better where she was coming from and to “realise or continue to seek the value of [her] Filipina ethnicity”.
Moreover, she is a mother now, so that new part of her life allowed her to become aware that this value -of her Filipina ethnicity, “has become even more important since becoming a parent and being faced with the responsibility to extend family traditions and customs to the next generation”.
As a result of all that we just learned about Marikit Santiago, her work and her thoughts, we can expect some great work from this artists at Balik Bayan. We can not wait for the exhibition to start, next September, to contemplate her’s and the other artist’s works during two months.