These paintings are reminders of the country from which I immigrated – The Philippines. Although I have been living in the United States for a majority of my life, my childhood experiences set in the backdrop of this Asian country continue to help define who I am today. I still eat Filipino food, I speak Tagalog, and I enjoy watching movies about Filipinos. Most of all, I value and help perpetuate the sociable nature that my old countrymen are known for. This is what I miss the most about the Philippines, and it seems to be the aspect most noticed by any visitor of the country. Through the traditional representational style that is most commonly accepted in the Philippines, I offer The Heritage Series as my heartfelt homage to the relationships that I felt and witnessed from my original country.
Most of the images for my paintings are taken from old photographs of my childhood and my visits to the Philippines. I choose images of people that resonate and trigger an emotional longing. Although the paintings themselves hardly suggest any particular place or time, I use them as catalysts for thoughts that lead me to remember experiences from my old home. As I create the artwork, my mind wanders through memories of Filipinos that I encountered.
The subjects, coupled with their displayed relationships, support the idea that these paintings are representations of a certain culture and invite the viewer to relate the culture with a heritage. The ways in which they are represented suggest that this is an individual’s attempt at “hanging on” or reconnecting to a romanticized past. This is something that I aim to communicate as common ground with those who immigrated to the United States from another country.