The programs in American studies and Asian American studies, in cooperation with the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Department of Art and Archaeology, presented an art exhibition and public conversation to the University and local community on Oct. 6, 2021, in honor of Filipino American History Month.
The exhibition featured works by the eight artists of the Filipino American art collective NExSE. The exhibition’s title, “300 Years in a Convent, 50 Years in Hollywood,” was taken from a popular idiomatic expression used in the Philippines to describe its complex colonial history. The convent signifies Spanish rule through Catholicism and Catholic values, customs and codification. Hollywood refers to the ways in which American popular culture has imagined the Philippines in terms of exoticism, glamour, difference and seduction.
The exhibition explored the diversity and complexity of the Filipino diaspora and its many expressions across different generational, geographic, and cultural contexts. The artists in the collective explore shared roots and diverse relationships with the Philippines’ layered colonial histories through a range of aesthetics, installation modes, and media-using language as a connective thread by mining discrete experiences.
The exhibition was open to the University community from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2021, in the CoLab on the forum level of the Lewis Center. At 4:30 p.m., the CoLab filled to capacity for a meet-and-greet with the artists. Audience and artists then took their seats in the adjacent Forum and were joined via Zoom by art historian and curator Patrick Flores from the University of the Philippines, who offered opening remarks before opening up to a conversation with the artists and the public, moderated by Assistant Professor of English and American Studies Paul Nadal. For those unable to attend in person, the event was live streamed via Zoom webinar and Media Central Live.
Video, photos and reflections on the exhibition will be available soon.