Interview with Maia Cruz Palileo

Publication Date
Monday, July 20, 2020

Discover one-on-one discussions about each artist’s work, between the curator and artists from RELATIONS: Diaspora and Painting. Here’s an interview with artist Maia Cruz Palileo.

Maia Cruz Palileo is a multidisciplinary, Brooklyn-based artist. Migration and a permeable conception of home are constant themes in her paintings, installations, sculptures, and drawings. Influenced by the oral history of her family’s arrival in the United States from the Philippines, as well as the history shared by the two countries, Palileo infuses these narratives with memory and imagination. When stories and memories are subjected to time and constant retelling, such narratives become questionable, straddling the line between fact and fiction while remaining cloaked in the convincingly familiar. Palileo spent the summer of 2017 researching images from the US colonial period in the Philippines at Chicago’s Newberry Library. She studied Damián Domingo’s watercolours of people living in and about Manila in the 1820s,folklorist and revolutionary Isabelo de los Reyes’s 1889 book El Folk-lore Filipino, and the Dean C. Worcester collection of ethnographic photographs from the years 1899–1903. Worcester was an American zoologist who became Secretary of the Interior for the United States government. His collections encompass multiple perspectives on the events of the nineteenth century, including the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. Together, they present an image of Filipinos as constructed both through native eyes and the eyes of the other. This phenomenon mirrors the fractured feeling of multiplicity and shallowness that many of Palileo’s generation describe when asked about Filipino-American identity and historical understanding.

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