Sawali: Blueprint of Reclamation
ECU X The Show 2022
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
I was inspired to pursue this project due to the rise of current social movements such as Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Peoples Movement, and Stop Asian Hate, and my desire to join the conversations actively and productively. The need to identify my positionalities in response to these social issues pointed me toward my colonized history. As such, my mixed media work “Sawali: Blueprint of Reclamation” (2022), was a personal process of decolonization of comprehending my position here in so-called Canada as a Filipino immigrant settler.
The woven archival inkjet prints on Tyvek, measuring 100 inches tall and 40 inches wide, developed from closely investigating the “Bahay Kubo or nipa hut as a starting place and holder of layered meanings. The artwork is comprised of two photographs: The first image (weft) is the Saint Augustin Bell Tower in Manila from the UNESCO Archives. The second image (warp) is of a Gaddang treehouse in the province of Nueva Vizcaya from the National Geography Archives. Then, using Photoshop, I reconstructed the two images to create a blueprint-like effect. By weaving the images or blueprints, they transform into a ‘Sawali’—a traditional woven pattern for walls and mats found in Bahay Kubo. However, due to the legacy of colonialism, Sawali is often associated with deprivation. It is my intention to subvert those negative associations by highlighting and appreciating their value. Ultimately, my work serves to reclaim and celebrate the history of traditional Philippine art and architecture.
Opus Art Supplies Graduation Award BFA
Honourable Mention for the ECU Graduation Award
for the Anti-Racism + Social Justice
Photography: Karl Hipol, Khim Hipol