On May 21st, State of the State: Contemporary Filipino/American Art in the Bay Area took place in the San Francisco Asian Art Museum’s glorious Samsung Hall:
Organized and led by the ever-brilliant Thea Quiray Tagle, this panel discussion featured Mike Arcega, Lordy Rodriguez, Cece Carpio, Eliza Barrios and yours truly, Woffles McGillicuddy. (Additional shout-out to AAM’s charming Marc Mayer, for making this all possible).
Thea just finished teaching a class on Carlos Villa and his legacy at SFAI and had also researched and written about his work in her dissertation, so she smartly thought to name the panel after this piece:
Thea gave a wonderful, generous preamble, crisply contextualizing Carlos’ work as an artist and educator, as well as his particular obsession with unearthing the existence of Filipino-American art history.
From there, we broke into a lively, earnest discussion of some of the complexities of and overlaps in our respective work as Filipino-American artists, and took some great, thoughtful audience questions at the end.
(Also, we were eating snacks and drinking hooch out of plastic cups behind our name cards throughout the panel, hence the sudden visibility of a flask here at the end:)
It was really more of a verbal than visual experience, so for those of you hungry for a full 90 minutes of this conversation, voilà! Video of the event is now available here, courtesy of the Asian Art Museum:
I just came across this reflection on social media from a slightly younger Fil-Am artist who attended our panel:
“This was honestly one of the more exciting things I’ve attended in the past year. I’ve always had mixed feelings about making work from my mixed identities (as hapa, as queer, as not quite Filipino, not quite gay, not quite male, not quite artist, as artist, etc) and Thea Quiray Tagle’s roundtable gave me much more confidence to start working from that mess.”
Sigh. Warm feelings. This is everything that keeps me going, and makes me so grateful for opportunities to engage in public conversations like these.