UBC Philippine Studies Series


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MAHAL Art Exhibit Documentation

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MAHAL: an artistic exploration of the desires
which carry the filipina/o across borders

By Chaya Erika Go, UBC Anthropology (4th year, undergraduate)

To culminate a series of events organised by the UBC Philippine Studies Series with guest lecturer, Dr Vicente L. Rafael, an art exhibit entitled MAHAL was held at the YACTAC gallery from October 28 to November 4, 2011. The name of the exhibit was inspired as such: In his book White Love (2000), Vicente L. Rafael considers the Filipino word ‘mahal’ as a translation for the word ‘love’. It refers to that which is dear, but also means valuable and expensive. Rafael writes that such ambiguities express love as a promise of fulfilment –and a costly one.

Artists were invited to submit their interpretations of what constitutes such desires, and what a ‘border’ signifies relating to their reflections on Filipino transnationals. Both as a co-curator and a participating artist in MAHAL, this paper is written as a post-exhibit reflective analysis of the processes I engaged with in this project: (1) interpreting the theme as expressed in the submissions, (2) designing the space to narrate the whole collection, and (3) witnessing the dynamic ways a Filipino transnational community is re-created in Vancouver through MAHAL. This paper is structured in these three sections accordingly. The reflections conveyed in this paper come from my own direct experiences, which are then interwoven with analyses put forward by Filipino artists and scholars of transnationalism. Through discussions with my co-curator, and conversations with artists and guests, this paper attempts to be inclusive of the wide variety of experiences created by MAHAL, but is careful not to claim authority over these individual experiences.


Photos by Deyan Denchev

Written by dada.docot

December 21st, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Events this October

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The UBC Philippine Studies Series
together with the Liu Institute for Global Issues,
incooperation with the
Global and Transnational Ethnographies Research Network,
St. John’s College,
and the Trudeau Foundation

invite you a two-day event with

Dr. Vicente Rafael, University of Washington



About the Speaker: Dr. Vince Rafael is a renowned historian teaching at the University of Washington, whose cross-cultural work focuses on the Philippines, comparative colonialism and nationalism. He is writer and editor of several books, including White Love and Other Events in Filipino History and  Contracting Colonialism, which both won the Philippines National Book Award for History awarded by the Manila Critics’ Circle in 2000 and 1989, respectively. He was also the recipient of fellowships, such as the Simpson Humanities Center at the University of Washington Fellowship (2004-2005), Andrews Visiting Chair at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Residential Fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy (1997), the Mellon Fellowship at Stanford University (1986-87), and many others. Dr. Rafael received his PhD and Masters in History from Cornell University, and his undergraduate degree in History and Philosophy from Ateneo de Manila University with highest honours.

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Written by dada.docot

October 12th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

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