Tuloy, Tawid directly translates to ‘Continue, Cross.’
When visiting Filipino households, it is not unusual to be greeted with an impassioned tuloy! upon arrival. “Tuloy po kayo” or “please come in,” denotes hospitality, coaxing those to come inside. To cross the threshold is to accept the kindness that has been extended. Tuloy denotes the beginning of a reciprocal exchange of shared intimacy. Tawid is to cross, over a bridge or terrain. from one point to another, covering ground, reaching a destination, overcoming distance.
The title situates the exhibition as inclusive, making way for discourse that privileges the telling of stories not often told, or not told enough. Tuloy, Tawidwelcomes one to continue the crossing – to take action toward a deeper understanding.
This exhibition examines the Filipino experience, entangled and layered by the diaspora.
But in the nuanced positionality of the Philippine-based artists living in Cebu and Laguna, as well as the hyphenated Canadians of Filipino ancestry, questions surface.
Where do we find commonality?
Where do our intersections occur, and at what point do we diverge?
Constantly negotiating identities within the spaces we inhabit, within implicated and fraught lands, how can we begin to call a place a home?
This exhibition developed while thinking through and critically examining the balikbayan box as a charged symbol for the Filipino diaspora (Hof 2018, 99). From Filipinos living abroad to loved ones in the Philippines – provisional imports are dispatched to satisfy anticipated needs, as well as requested goods. The proliferation of this gesture of care can be tracked from every direction around the globe, resulting in an estimated 18,000 containers received per year (Hof 2018, 95) as of 2015. This number has surely grown since. Thus, the balikbayan box serves not only as a form of kinship work (Milgram 2019, 53), maintaining important connections within family and community, but has grown into a lucrative industry, blurring the distinctions between gift and commodity.
With such a complicated network of entanglements, the balikbayan box serves only as a beginning to a much larger discussion about the Filipino migration, as it informs and expands national borders, implicates notions of identity, cultural dynamics, evolving traditions and adapted rituals.
By selecting artists from such diverse backgrounds, with distinct relationships to their own Filipino ancestry, Tuloy,Tawid proposes new ways of continuing on, and crossing to a more inclusive and generous future.
MANAPUL'S ARTIST STATEMENT:
Through research-based art practice, Manapul examines eternal displacement, complicated by colonialism, sexual identity, diasporic bodies, global identity construction, and the Eurocentric Western hegemony. Focusing on the hybrid nature of Filipinx culture through post-colonial realities, as well as through the gaze of queer identities as taxonomy, they study narratives specific to diasporic queer bodies; the loss of motherlands, feelings of belonging as a consequence of the colonial pedagogy and imperial power.
Umalis ka na sa Araw (Stay Out of the Sun) is a well-known adage in the Philippines. Usually said by parents to their children, it is a warning against becoming dark. Rooted in the internalization of the colonial project since the Philippines’ imperialization in 1521, the belief in whiteness as a way of being has since pervaded popular culture through mestiza celebrities, class distinctions and beauty products that promise a better life through the erasure of brown skin. Manapul teases out this notion through the select pieces within this exhibition. (Art Gallery of Grand Prairie, www.aghp.ca, 2021)
Copyright © 2019 Julius Poncelet Manapul - All Rights Reserved.