Colonized Women Asian American Resource Center

Discover the work of conceptual artist Fran Flaherty as she examines The Boxer Codex, a manuscript from 1590, and addresses how its’ illustrations have not only stereotyped her Indigenous ancestors but also their descendants in the Philippines and abroad. See her creative response to the manuscript as she reclaims and recreates the imagery. Then listen in as Flaherty discusses the concept behind her work and gives you the opportunity to participate in a community mural.

"Colonized Women: Zambal, Tagalog, Cagayanes, Pintados" by Fran Flaherty

Examine and Reclaim

Fran Flaherty examines racism, its roots, and calls attention to the perpetuating effects of European colonizers. Today, the word immigrant presents a negative connotation with visions of people in mass inhabiting land not belonging to them. Flaherty brings to light the contradiction of such a view when colonization is not regarded in the same manner. She looks closely at history in order to understand ancestral trauma in the context of immigration and colonization and how it continues to affect our interactions with one another even today. Through Flaherty’s series of works, she reminds us that though we are individually free, there remains chains that cannot be seen.

Image Description: Colonized Woman: Zambal (detail)

Reclaiming Our Indigenous Roots: An Interactive Art Project

Join artist Fran Flaherty to create a crowd-sourced mural of Indigenous peoples of the Philippines. Draw, color, and collage on downloadable templates that reference Flaherty’s Colonized Women compositions and upload completed pieces to contribute to the mural.

1. Watch this interview with Fran Flaherty to learn about how she developed the her Colonized Women and her idea to grow the concept into crowd-sourced work of art.

2. Download free Colonized Women and Men templates

3. Choose which template you want to work with and print it.

4. Be creative and express yourself! You may use any variety of arts and crafts materials to draw, color, and collage on your template. Consider artistic ways to tell your story and make a unique picture that represents you.

5. Once your piece is finished, scan it or take a photo.

6. To submit your piece, upload it here:

7. Check back regularly to see your submission displayed along with other community submissions. We update the gallery weekly.

Need modifications? Click below to access the list of inclusive supplies that can be used to modify arts and crafts tools to make this project more accessible and inclusive.

If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact us at aarc@austintexas.gov.

Community Submissions Gallery

Community submissions by Vaibhav, Carmina, Leila Grace, Veronica, AJ, Kelly, and Cristina.

About the Artist

Fran Flaherty is a deaf artist living in Pennsylvania with her husband Tim, their sons, Liam, Sean, and Lucas, and her hearing dog Olympia. She is a first generation immigrant from the Philippines. Her work is centered in issues surrounding migrant family relations and assimilation, maternal feminism, disability aesthetics, and social work. Her work is inspired by the care paradigm: a premise that human beings cannot survive alone and the progress of human beings, as a species, flows from our identity as social animals, connected to one another through ties of love, kinship, and clanship.

Her art has been featured in exhibits all over the world including University of Tennessee Knoxville’s 1010 Gallery; Pineapple Labs, Makati City, Philippines; Slipe Gallery, Hartford Art School, Hartford, CT; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; Center for Babaylan Studies, Torrance, Ontario, Cananda; Robert Miller Gallery, NY, NY; University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburgh, South Africa; and Topographie de l’art, Paris, France.

The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. For assistance please contact (512) 974-3914 or Relay Texas 7-1-1.

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