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"Kamayan Na! Erasing My Tagalog" Animation Still, 2021
INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Julius Poncelet Manapul, Decolonizing Antiquities, organized by John B. Aird Gallery director/curator Carla Garnet, features multi-media installation and collage works that arise from the artist's lived experience as a gay, diasporic, Filipinx. This solo show reflects Manapul's desire to disrupt static and globalized notions of queerness in favor of an emergent subjectivity that is remade through aesthetics. His artistic practice focuses on the hybrid nature of Filipinx culture after colonialism and the colour-gaze of queer identities, using a taxonomy to excavate the experience of immigration and assimilation in the face of cultural erasure. Manapul’s exhibition with the Aird engages with geographies of resistance while addressing the experience of displacement through themes of colonialism, sexual identity, diasporic bodies, global identity construction, and Western hegemony. With Decolonizing Antiquities & Rituals Julius turns his attention towards the re-interpretation of colonial antiquities and their impact on ritual experiences. The project juxtaposes three bodies of work: Balikbayan Bakla, After Jose Honorato Lozano; Cup of Rice; and a table setting installation titled Kamayan na (which translates as To eat with our hands). For instance, Manapul’s A Cup of Rice series excavates colonial history to reveal how objects perpetuate imperial power using suppression, bigotry, homophobia, and racism. This series, presented in a performative installation titled Balikbayan Tea Party, interrogates the European appropriation of ‘tea-drinking’ ceremonies from ancient Asian practices. Exploring the colonial symbolism of ‘high tea culture’ and how diasporic culture(s) in turn learn to whitewash themselves through such tea-drinking rituals, the work asks, "How much cream does one need to whiten their tea?” Presented as a coherent collection, Manapul’s new bodies of work operate as a provisional site for change-making discussion and other potentialities. - Carla Garnet

FOREWORD

FOREWORD by JOWENNE CARPO HERRERA

My family and I left the Philippines and immigrated to Canada when I was eleven years old. ‘Tagalog’ was my first language, and growing up, I always felt that there was pride in being fluent in ‘Tagalog’. In grade one, our teacher assigned us to recite a ‘tula’ (poem) by Teodoro E. Gener, a renowned Philippine poet, titled ‘Ako’y Pilipino’ (I am Filipino). The poem expresses the imagery and spirit of what it means to be Filipino in nature, language, and colour. I repeatedly practiced every word and stanza, ensured my diction and pronunciation was authentic, on point, and uniquely my own. I was one of six kids chosen to compete in the final round.

Embracing one’s language and colour is synonymous with pride in one’s culture. I recall two incidents when this notion was challenged. The first was in my grade three math class when I raised my hand up to answer an equation. “Twen-tea!” I shouted. “I’m sorry but that’s not how you pronounce it,” the teacher replied. “You should instead say ‘twenny’. That’s how they say it in the States.” The second incident was when my ‘nanay’ (mother) had one of her clients over to finalize and sign some papers. I was summoned to the ‘sala’ (living room) to bring some ‘tsaa’ (tea). While in the ‘kusina’ (kitchen), I overheard her client asking “Anak mo ba iyon? Bakit ang itim niya?” (Is that your child? Why is he so dark?). Looking back at these experiences, I am reminded how my identity construction and relation to society have been subjectively shaped by Western ideals, its constitutions about beauty and appropriateness, and the colonial micro inequities that come with them.

Julius Poncelet Manapul’s Decolonizing Antiquities reflects my people’s lived experiences, sense of displacement, and the complex ramifications of colonialism. The narratives he presents figuratively exercises and exhibits the complex duality between a diasporic Filipinx identity living within a post-colonial environment – where it begs one to question “can one ever go back” after assimilation. In the collage titled Balikbayan Box, his ‘selfie’ cut-outs disrupts the notion of being a queer Filipinx, and the tension of self-identified cultural erasure. A balikbayan box (literally “repatriate box”) is a corrugated box containing items and gifts sent back to Philippine ‘barrios’ (towns) usually by overseas Filipino workers (known as "balikbayans"). It’s as if Manapul challenges and questions if we can ever go back, can we be decolonized, and can we reverse (and erase) cultural erasure?

The use of rice across Manapul’s artifacts, baked and stained with ‘toyo’ (soya sauce) in various degrees and shades of darkness, challenges us what the right shade is appropriate amidst the notions of eurocentric ideas of beauty. How light is the right light, and how dark is the right dark? Can a ‘morena/moreno’ (brown coloured skin) be acceptable? What degree is acceptable? The use of rice as a metaphor is fitting, given that the national food in the Philippines is in fact white rice, not ‘adobo!’ No other food is used so widely in the Philippines as rice. It is the centre of the plate in every household, and almost everybody can afford it. It is why in Manapul’s table-installation titled Kamayan na (Eat with your hands), the use of rice on colonial antique dinnerware, deconstructs and reconstructs the notion of Filipino rituals of eating. The words in Tagalog scripted with dark and even burnt rice grains on antique plates exercises the resistance to Western ideals and notions of what is civilized and proper. Can we ditch the cutlery and eat with our hands instead?

This online show accompanies Manapul’s solo exhibition on view at the John B. Aird Gallery, between November 5, 2020 and March 26, 2021. It features multi-media installation and collage works that arise from the artist’s lived experience as a queer, diasporic, Filipinx. This book also includes the curator’s statement by Carla Garnet, and essays by Amina Farah and Robert Diaz. I hope you will enjoy this publication, bring to light and learn about the complex realities of the Filipinx diaspora in a post-colonialized landscape. Per Teodoro E. Gener’s poem, “…kusang mabubuo sa pagsasabi ng isang katagang tunay at totoo, hinding-hindi iba yaring pagkatao, Pilipinong likas, ako’y Pilipino” (…I can freely say the words in their true sense, it does not diminish my true self, I will not be different, I am Filipino in nature, I am Filipino). - Jowenne Carpo Herrera

CURATOR STATEMENT

CURATOR STATEMENT by CARLA GARNET

Julius Poncelet Manapul, Decolonizing Antiquities, features multi-media installation and collage works that arise from the artist’s lived experience as a gay, diasporic, Filipinx.

This solo show reflects the artist’s desire to disrupt static and globalized notions of queerness in favor of an emergent subjectivity that is remade through aesthetics. His artistic practice focuses on the hybrid nature of Filipinx culture after colonialism and the colour-gaze of queer identities, using a taxonomy to excavate the experience of immigration and assimilation in the face of cultural erasure.

With Decolonizing Antiquities & Rituals Julius turns his attention towards the re-interpretation of colonial antiquities and their impact on ritual experiences. The project juxtaposes three bodies of work: Balikbayan Bakla, After Jose Honorato Lozano; Cup of Rice; and a table-installation titled Kamayan na (which translates as To eat with our hands).

In Kamayan na colonial dinnerware is filtered through the artist’s decolonial reading of the ritual through the insertion of Filipino narratives and rituals of eating. The installation is accompanied by digital animations that interrogate the colonial tropes he responds to in the work. In this exhibition, the artist addresses what he describes as, ‘an eternal sense of displacement experienced as a result of the impact of Spanish Imperialism on queer Filipinx adrift in the Western hegemonic framework’.

Manapul’s exhibition engages with geographies of resistance while addressing the experience of displacement through themes of colonialism, sexual identity, diasporic bodies, global identity construction, and Western hegemony. To do this the he pulls narratives from colonialism, sexual identity, diasporic bodies, global identity construction, and Eurocentric Western hegemony. His hybrid images challenge forms of oppression and question the problematic side of queer communities -- arguing that popular images of queer identity uphold homonormativity through whitewashing and internalized racism.

Manapul’s collage-based suite Balikbayan Bakla is fabricated with imagery from Filipinx artist, Jose Honorato Lozano’s 19th-century Manila Bay landscape paintings and the artist’s intricate ‘selfie’ cut-outs that subvert and question dominant and oppressive queer representation.

These multi-layered collage pieces contain hidden inscriptions of Tagalog pejoratives for homosexuality, effeminacy, and related performances and English racialized and sexualized slurs. Manapul reclaims these terms to disrupt static and globalized notions of queerness in favor of an emergent subjectivity that is remade through aesthetics.

Manapul’s A Cup of Rice series excavates colonial history to reveal how objects perpetuate imperial power using suppression, bigotry, homophobia, and racism. The series is presented in a performative installation titled Balikbayan Tea Party which interrogates the European appropriation of ‘tea-drinking’ ceremonies from ancient Asian practices.

Balikbayan Tea Party involves a projection, which occupies the entire back wall of the gallery. It features the artist in two to die for frocks and full out makeup, greeting his guests at the threshold between his spectacular video and his in situ tea-party set table installation. Operating in concert this multi-media the installation explores the colonial symbolism of in ‘high tea culture’ and how diasporic culture(s) in turn learn to whitewash themselves through such tea-drinking rituals, the work asks, "How much cream does one need to whiten their tea?”

What’s more, this spectacular show is filled with new media. In addition to the aforementioned narrative projection, there are 3 gif compositions that pulse and pull as they play on 3 large flat screens that share the gallery with 18th-century antique furniture, highly decorated, rice encrusted bone china plates, framed prints, wall-lamps, and more.

Presented as a coherent collection, Manapul’s new bodies of work operate as a provisional site for change-making discussion and other potentialities. - Carla Garnet

SHORT ESSAY

JULIUS' DINNER PARTY

SHORT ESSAY by AMINA FARAH

Have you ever been to a dinner party at Julius' home? It seems unlikely in these times of COVID, but before the pandemic you might have packed into his apartment, meeting a dozen new friends and savouring a magical five-course meal. Julius is the consummate host, always making sure his guests have everything they need. Though we have been friends for years, I am never sure what to expect at these lavish events. I have eaten chicken adobo and the loftiest of souffles in the same meal. I have sat next to his mother on one-side and his ex-boyfriend on the other. But I always have a good time and good conversation.

Julius' latest solo show, Decolonizing Antiquities, reminds me very much of his dinner parties; it is a feast. Not only does he set a literal dinner table with fine china plates and cups, but it is a feast of ideas too. His center installation is a dinner table with settings designed and constructed from antique plates. He creates beautiful writing in Tagalog on the dishes using basmati rice stained with Filipino Soy Sauce. The phrases on the plates are like something you might hear at dinner. One reads "Hay naku, nasaan ang kanin!" (Geez, where is the rice?). Another offers "Kamayan na!" (Eat with your hands), and yet another "Hoy, huwag ka nang maarte diyan!!!" (Hey, don't be pretentious/extra). This is the dinner table set for queer, immigrants of colour like us who often occupy an in-between space; enjoying the drama, yet searching for that sense of home.

The whole show holds the tension between a sense of home, culture and belonging, and eurocentric ideas of beauty. When I spoke with Julius earlier this year about his work, he said "in a way, I am doing pandemic art; looking around at the ordinary things around me all the time and wondering why I have them. Why do I collect these teacups and antiques? How has colonialism and queer culture shaped me?" The different objects in Julius' show are familiar to me. They are dishes I have dined on, and the phrases on the plates are part of familiar conversations about immigrating young to Canada; we both remember working hard to fit in.

This show is beautiful and bittersweet. It asks us, what does it mean to find a home and can you ever go back? Julius uses the Balikbayan box as a way to ask this question. As he explained to me, "I chose the Balikbayan box because bakibyan means to 'return home' in Tagalog. I wanted to explore the idea of home both by using the things I own and connecting to my Filipino roots." A piece titled "Balikbayan Tea Cart," adorned with images from gay porn cut-outs, is set to serve afternoon tea in the art show. Using gay porn to make intricate designs, Julius brings another conversation about home and belonging to the table. "What space is there for people of colour," he asks, "in a white, often racist, queer culture?"

Like a lively dinner party, this show is packed with questions and you are invited to each conversation. Each piece provides new, layered food for thought. Perhaps the sculpture installation "The Rice Queen's Regalia," brings the themes together best. It is a replica of the Spanish Royal Crown constructed from basmati rice, logos of Filipino Whitewashing Products and gay white male porn bodies. It sits on a bag of rice that replaces the crown pillow. In this piece, Julius compresses the core question of the art show. As he put it, "how has colonialism and queer culture shaped me?" Julius uses objects from his life and his experience to answer these questions and in doing so, serves us a beautiful five-course feast. - Amina Farah

ARTIST STATEMENT

ARTIST STATEMENT by JULIUS P MANAPUL

As a queer migrant Filipinx artist from the Ilocano tribe, and a descendant of Maria Josefa Gabriela Carino de Silang, known as an anti-colonial fighter during the 18th century Spanish rule over the Philippines—the first female leader of a Filipino movement for independence from Spain, my research and artistic practice are informed by these embodiment, as I excavate the experience of immigration and assimilation through cultural erasure.

Addressing eternal displacement through themes of colonialism, sexual identity, diasporic bodies, global identity construction, and the Eurocentric Western hegemony, my artwork focuses on the hybrid nature of Filipinx culture after colonialism and the gaze of queer identities as taxonomy. My recent research project looks at the narratives for many diasporic queer bodies that create an unattainable imagined space of lost countries and domestic belongings through colonial pedagogy of knowledge and globalized imperial power. Hybrid images question the problematic side of queer communities that uphold homonormativity through whitewashing and internalized racism, and act to challenge forms of oppression.

My personal body of work is informed by tools of imperialism, whitewashed indigeneity, displaced cultural identities, colonized queer bodies, Western heteronormative standards, genderism, and neocolonialism as they relate to my experience of immigration and assimilation through cultural erasure. My research looks at the narratives for many diasporic queer bodies that create an unattainable imagined space of lost countries and domestic belongings through colonial pedagogy of globalized antiques, neo-objets d’art, and the current digital media narratives.

For this body of work, I propose to re-interpret the display of colonial antiquities to a diasporic queer lens in attempt to decolonize the symbolic presence of the objects. Throughout documented histories of colonial knowledge of the artifacts and objects as art through Western & Eurocentric pedagogies reminds me of my position as an outsider looking in, thus pushing my own understandings to re-articulate these colonial aesthetics and contemplate a recrafting of these objects back to colonized countries, through the lens of the colonized and how these objects starts to create a transformative understanding of decolonizing its origins of power and patriarchy.

These archived past, what was presented and what was not presented, while interrogating that archives. Recontextualizing how I can decolonize antiquities and archives with the present state of being and unbelonging.

Objects and narratives form my personal space and daily life becomes the materials I choose to work with on this show. Re-examining my possessions and obsessions that reflects my struggles of the problematics on whitewashing and at the same time re-learning my past and cultural roots that had been erased, forgotten and replaced by a pound of English language, a cup of Western products, with a dash of Patriarchal sensibility, baked in Colonial cultural acceptance. A recipe that had been used throughout colonized countries such as the Philippines. As I recollect my childhood experiences growing up in a country that upholds whiteness and colonial upbringing as standardized idea of wealth, knowledge, class structures, and as a way of keeping up appearances while consuming the after effects of Western & Eurocentric programming’s, brands, culture, and habits.

Through these series of Sculptures, Collage, Installations, Digital Collage, Animations, Videos, and Performances, I am left with the questions how can one decolonize histories and objects? How can one reclaim these understandings and contexts? And how can we move forward to a new informed and just possibilities beyond the horizon of belonging and equity that deconstructs colonial patriarchal status quo.

This body of work tries to understand my personal journey of belonging in spaces crafted through assimilation while struggling to relearn and the re-acceptance of what it is to be a Filipino living in colonized land. A sense of displaced belongings as I tiptoe between ideas of both imagined spaces, thus realizing the new Country I belong in are thoughts and potentialities within an intangible land that is only a reflected concept I cannot obtain or own. A hybridized imagined space that is a culmination of the nomadic migrant experiences that lingers through my art practice and the recent digital landscape. - Julius Poncelet Manapul

Welcome to DECOLONIZING ANTIQUITIES 2020-2021

Welcome to DECOLONIZING ANTIQUITIES 2020-2021

Images Documented by Julius P Manapul & Francis Jay Manapul

Gabriela Silang, Plate, 2020

Antique decorative China wall plate, decorated with basmati rice stained with Filipino Soy Sauce. Dimensions: 9.25 inches diameter.

María Josefa Gabriela Cariño Silang (born March 19, 1731 - died September 20, 1763) is remembered as a fearless anti-colonial fighter and a great leader of the people of the Philippines. She was the first Filipino woman to lead a revolt against the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. The artist is related to Gabriela Silang through their father’s mother side (the Cariño family).

Gabriela was the daughter of an Ilokano peasant living under Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines. Imperial Spain’s three centuries of colonialism were not accepted passively by the Filipino people. At least 300 significant armed revolts against cruel Spanish repression were launched by the indigenous peoples of the Philippines. She married an indigenous Ilocano resistance leader named Diego Silang. During the Seven Years’ War between Spain, Britain, France and other colonial powers of the day Diego Silang was imprisoned by the Spanish after suggesting to the Spanish authorities that they abolish the tribute, colonialist tax, and replace Spanish functionaries with native people. He volunteered to head Ilocano forces against the British. The newly appointed Catholic Bishop of Nueva Segovia rejected his call. Diego Silang’s imprisonment stirred an Ilocano revolt. After his release, he roused his people to action once again. His effort was cut short when he was assassinated by a traitor paid by the Catholic church. Following his death, Gabriela took on full leadership of the resistance. She moved into the Abra mountains to establish a new base, reassemble her troops and recruit from the local Tingguian community to fight the Spanish. Gabriela led the resistance group for over four months before being captured. She and around 100 resistance fighters were executed by the colonizers on 20 September 1763.

The people of the Philippines eventually defeated Spanish colonialism in 1898, only to begin a new anti-colonial struggle against the United States. Despite harsh, racist repression and vicious massacres, the U.S. imperialists faced the same problems as the Spanish had. They too were unable to subdue the Filipino people. The courageous fighting spirit and leadership of people like Gabriela still marks the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist struggle being waged in the Philippines. The ongoing class struggle in the Philippines bears not only Gabriela’s mark, but also her name. Her deeds inspired the creation of GABRIELA in 1984, the country’s leading grassroots women’s alliance of more than 200 organizations, institutions, desks and programs of women all over the Philippines seeking to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino people. The name stands for a General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action.

José Rizal, Plate, 2019-2020

Antique decorative China wall plate, decorated with basmati rice stained with Filipino Soy Sauce. Dimensions: 9.75 inches diameter.

José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (born June 19, 1861, Calamba, Philippines - died December 30, 1896, Manila) was a political leader, and a Philippines National Hero. A physician, and author, he was educated in Manila, and at the University of Madrid. A brilliant medical student, he soon committed himself to the reform of Spanish rule in his home country, though he never advocated Philippine independence. Most of his writing was done in Europe, where he resided between 1882 and 1892.

In 1887 Rizal published his first novel, Noli me tangere (The Social Cancer), a passionate exposure of the evils of Spanish rule in the Philippines. A sequel, El filibusterismo (1891; The Reign of Greed), established his reputation as the leading spokesman of the Philippine reform movement. He published an annotated edition (1890; reprinted 1958) of Antonio Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, hoping to show that the native people of the Philippines had a long history before the coming of the Spaniards. He became the leader of the Propaganda Movement, contributing numerous articles to its newspaper, La Solidaridad, published in Barcelona. Rizal’s political program included integration of the Philippines as a province of Spain, representation in the Cortes (the Spanish parliament), the replacement of Spanish friars by Filipino priests, freedom of assembly and expression, and equality of Filipinos and Spaniards before the law. Upon his return to the Philippines in 1892, Rizal founded a nonviolent-reform society, the Liga Filipina, in Manila, and was deported to Dapitan in northwest Mindanao. He remained in exile for the next four years. In 1896 the Katipunan, a Filipino nationalist secret society, revolted against Spain. Although he had no connections with that organization and had no part in the insurrection, Rizal was arrested and tried for sedition by the military. Found guilty, he was publicly executed by a firing squad in Manila. His martyrdom convinced Filipinos that there was no alternative to independence from Spain. On the eve of his execution, while confined in Fort Santiago, Rizal wrote “Último adiós” (“Last Farewell”), a masterpiece of 19th-century Spanish verse.

Datu Lapulapu, Plate, 2020

Antique decorative China wall plate, decorated with basmati rice stained with Filipino Soy Sauce. Dimensions: 9.25 inches diameter.

Chief Lapu Lapu is an essential part of the history of the islands which became known as the Philippines and their resistance to foreign takeover by European countries such as Spain. Lapu Lapu was born in 1491, although no one knows the exact date of his birth. He lived on Mactan Island and soon became the chief of his people, helping them stand on their own and fight for independence. During his time as chief, many foreign countries tried to claim the islands as their own, including the famous explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

While Magellan was conquering the neighboring island of Cebu, he learned of the existence of the island and the small group of people who lived there and attempted to conquer it. However, he was met with a great amount of resistance by the Mactan people headed by their leader, Chief Lapu Lapu. Lapu Lapu and the Mactan killed Magellan and many others during this battle, known in Philippine history as the Battle of Mactan.

Lapu Lapu has been written about extensively throughout history. In the 19th century, Lapu Lapu was referred to as Kalipulako by Mariano Ponce, who wrote primarily propaganda. The Declaration of Independence for the Philippines refers to Lapu Lapu by this name and goes so far as to call him King Kalipulako of Mactan. On the island of Mactan today stands a statue of both Magellan and the great warrior Lapu Lapu. The statue of Magellan is erected at the site where it is believed he was killed by Lapu Lapu. The statue of Lapu Lapu stands in the center of the island to commemorate his contribution to the independence of his island and its people. The Battle of Mactan is recreated by volunteers on the island on April 27th every year to honor this chief's great bravery.

Balikbayan Bakla After Jose Honorato Lozano Series, 2020

Digital Collage: Archived Painting, Artist Selfie Silhouette, Queer Images, Filipino Text, and Balikbayan Box Template. 11 x 17 inches.

Balikbayan Ladlad After Jose Honorato Lozano Series, 2020

Digital Collage: Archived Painting, Artist Selfie Silhouette, Queer Images, Filipino Text, and Balikbayan Box Template. 11 x 17 inches.

Balikbayan Bading After Jose Honorato Lozano Series, 2020

Digital Collage: Archived Painting, Artist Selfie Silhouette, Queer Images, Filipino Text, and Balikbayan Box Template. 11 x 17 inches.

Jose Honorato Lozano’s paintings from 19th century depiction of the Philippines shows Filipino Indigenous life which became part of my appropriated medium that I interrogate in my cultural belonging and unbelonging. Grappling through the painting’s problematic taxonomy studies of Indigenous exoticization and the perpetuation of the “otherness” which in turn limits the understandings of race and culture. Inserting the whitewashed silhouettes of myself from selfies taken from my iPhone thus inserts and subverts these pictorial archives that then travels through Colonial Lenses. The blank absence of myself in the image points to my distance from the representation while the presence of my outline tries to reconnect myself to what was erased and washed out from my ancestors, cultural histories and sense of unbelonging. Thus, excavating the problematics of many diasporic bodies about the erasure of a country. The Balikbayan Box is then inserted central to the image, confined while connecting the Box’s symbolism of cultural flight and exchange between Filipinos in the Philippines and Diasporic Filipinos from Western Countries. Balikbayan box is a corrugated cardboard box which is a repatriate box containing items sent by overseas Filipinos. The surface of the image is then flattened with the injection of decorative Tagalog texts, of Bakla, Bading and Ladlad which translates Gay, Fag and Openly Queer. These decorative aesthetics creates a screen between the edited narratives and the viewers, linking boundaries in the act of looking between public space and the personal present space of the selfie. The last insertion is a bleached out subtle hints the Toronto map compiled from a surveys made in 1866, around the same century Jose Honorato Lozano’s paintings of the Philippines landscape were made.

Take a Picture It Will Last Longer, Balikbayan Wall Sconces & Bongga Ka ‘Day, Installation, 2020
Take a Picture It Will Last Longer, 2020 (Still)

Take a Picture It Will Last Longer, 2020

Stop-Motion Video Animation Projected on TV Screen, 11 seconds looped. Indigenous Filipino Face Tattoo GIF Animation. The bust of Beethoven is an example of a Decolonized Eurocentric whitewashed objects I started to acquire in my collections to decorate my home. I often question why I gravitated towards these colonial Eurocentric aesthetics which further question my learning and conditioning growing up from the Philippines & Canada. Collections of whitewashed objects from second hand stores occupies my personal space, reflecting on the aspects of colonial belongings and an unconscious act of assimilating and performing whiteness, class, and acceptability that had been generalized through interior and the decorative aesthetics that can be sold and acquired. This bust is adorned with tribal face tattoos from the Visayan Langi face and Luzon (warrior markings from the Philippine History of pre-colonial times) with a permanent sharpie marker. Trying to acquire the permanence of re-learning my cultural indigeneity through the objects that had settled in my daily life.

Balikbayan Wall Sconces & Bongga Ka ‘Day, 2020

Balikbayan Wall Sconces, 2020. The TV monitor is anchored with two antique wall sconces with white Balikbayan text.

Bongga Ka ‘Day, 2020. Set of two framed decorative floral prints with white vinyl silhouettes of the artist in stilettos. The title comes from a popular Filipino disco song, meaning “proud and fierce”. Usually this terminology is used between Filipino queer communities. 13.25 x 17.5 inches, irregular, each.

You’re Whitewashing Me With Your Soap, 2020

Collage made with Stereoscope photos of the Philippines from the Late Victorian Era of 1900s, juxtaposed with printout of Likas skin whitening soap logo from the Philippines. Framed Dimensions: 11 x 17 inches.

Ladlad Bakla Tea Set, 2020 (Digital Still)
Ladlad Bakla Tea Saucer, 2020 (Digital Still)

Ladlad Bakla Tea Set, 2020

Digital animated GIF projected on TV Screen 25 seconds looped. This digital collage work is crafted from homonormative male gay bodies, templates of indigenous Filipino butterflies, and Tagalog texts. The words Ladlad and Bakla (terms that denote homosexuality, effeminacy, and related performances) adorn the digital tea set image.

A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, 2019-2020
A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, 2019-2020 (Before and After) Bone China.
A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, Tea Pot, 2019-2020
A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, Tea Cup & Saucer, 2019-2020
A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, Tea Cup & Saucer, 2019-2020

Antique bone china teacups, saucers, china plates, and silverware, placed on antique tea cart. Teacups, saucers and plates decorated with basmati rice stained with Filipino Soy Sauce in different dilutions with water to achieve varying shades of brown. The raw dried rice is then baked at 250 F for 30 minutes in order for the pigments to stick to the rice grains. It is then cooled off and dried overnight before use. Silverware contains cut-outs of printed images of Eskinol skin whitening toner. These objects that had been excavated from Antique Markets and now had been re-appropriated with Basmati Rice that had been stained with Filipino Soy Sauce is the act of tracing the colonial patterns to be covered, replacing colonial aesthetics to mimic the detailed tactile Filipino Indigenous Mark-Makings found in textiles and body tattoos. The origin of tea drinking goes as far back to the 3rd AD in China, during the Chinese Tang dynasty. I expressed this information to the fact that now in popular culture it had been appropriated as a British Colonial practice of Afternoon Tea to act out elite Patriarchal entitlement. This acts from past histories of acquiring the practices, objects and lands from these colonized spaces is important to be reminded of the power dynamics and effects of colonialism that still lingers in our current times, that normalized our knowing and understandings of these antiques and objects that inhabits our daily rituals.

Process of stained rice with soyasauce. A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, 2019-2020
A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, 2019-2020 (Details)
A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, 2019-2020 (Details)
A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, 2019-2020 (Details)
A Cup of Rice: Tea Set Series, Silverware & Ekinol Skin Whitening, 2019-2020 (Details)
Balikbayan Tea Cart, 2019-2020

Antique late Victorian, early Edwardian tea cart decorated with white text “Balikbayan” (English: To Return to the Country), as well as images derived from Manapul’s unique, hybrid, gay porn cut-outs, and whitewashing products.

Balikbayan Tea Cart, 2019-2020 (Details)
Traditional Filipino Clay Ceramics, Water Jug & Tea Set Collection, 19th Century

The installation is set to serve as what otherwise is understood as an afternoon tea service—but rather than traditional china, the artist placed a traditional Filipino water jug and tea set collection which informs the cart settings through decolonial aesthetics. On loan by Rick & Tess Malonzo from the Malonzo Family.

Hybrid Rice Queen, 2019-2020

Digital animated GIF projected on TV Screen 4 seconds looped. This digital collage work is crafted from an animated Queerious Butterflies from homonormative male gay bodies, templates of indigenous Filipino butterflies, and a performance by the artist in the Hybrid Rice Queen paper gay porn costume.

Rice Ka Ganda Hosts the Dinner, 2020 (Stills from the Video Installation)

Rice Ka Ganda Hosts the Dinner, 2020

Video Installation projected on the wall. Ka Ganda translation: Very Pretty.

The video and photo projections are the artist’s alter ego in drag “Rice Ka Ganda” who echoes the same template of showing audiences how to become a domesticated colonial host to prepare a formal sit-down dinner party in the tone of a ramshackle version of the Martha Stewart Show. This documented performance interrogates the acts of gender prescribed roles of the domestics re-interpreting the Filipinix experience of the Diasporic nanny intertwined with the colonial perspectives of the Western ideals of the Host in context of the Happy Home Maker. The video is intertwined with images the artist took during their last visit to the Philippines back in 2004, echoing the act of the Balikbayan embodiment (to return back to the country). The Balikbayan boxes were used by Filipino immigrants in the west to send western products to their families back home. It is also Intertwined with the Digital Archive of the 1609 book “Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas” (English: Events in the Philippine Island) a book written and published by Antonio de Morga, an early historical account of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, a first-hand account of the early Spanish colonial venture into Asia. The first English translation was published in London in 1868.

Kamayan na! (Let’s eat with our hands now!) Installation, 2020
Kamayan na! (Let’s eat with our hands now!) Installation, 2020
Kamayan na! (Let’s eat with our hands now!) Installation, 2020
Kamayan na! (Let’s eat with our hands now!) Installation, 2020
Kamayan na! (Let’s eat with our hands now!) Installation, 2020
Kamayan na! (Let’s eat with our hands now!) Installation, 2020 (Details)

Installation of a dinner table setting design, constructed from antique plates with basmati rice stained with Filipino Soy Sauce, forming Filipino/Tagalog texts. The table’s center piece is constructed with faux flowers made from gay porn images and Filipino whitewashing products in crystal vases, candles encased in paper with Snow Skin Whitening Cream logo in a candelabra, Philippine Kalesa (horse and carriage toy purchased from souvenir shop in the Philippines), napkins with Likas, a Filipino whitening soap logo and Basmati rice stained with Filipino soy sauce, an act “to stain back the soap”, as well as antique silver salt and pepper shaker with images of whitewashing products. The lack of utensils echoes the cultural way of “eating with our hands”.

This installation speaks about the etiquettes to the colonial, patriarchal ceremony of dinning and hosting. As a Filipino who grew up eating with my hands on a special BBQ party (Kamayan/Eating with hands) back home when we eat specific grilled food spread on banana leaves called Boodle Fight. A boodle fight, in context of Filipino culture, is the military practice of eating a meal. The explanation on its etymology says that the term “boodle” is an American military slang for contraband sweets such as cake, candy and ice cream. A “boodle fight” is a party in which boodle fare is served. The term may have been derived from “kit and caboodle”. My experience of the boodle fights is grilled seafood such as Tilapia, Shrimps, Mussels, Squid, as well as BBQ Pork, Rice, Mango Salad, with a Lechon/Roast Pork. In this installation I will create a hybrid of both dining etiquettes with a Colonial ways of eating that was introduced to the Indigenous Filipinos during the Spanish Colonization to eat with the utensils rather than their hands, but rather I will dispose of the utensils and lay antique plates that had been adorned with rice creating Filipino/Tagalog texts of sayings exchanged in a Filipino family table. The translation of the Tagalog words into English echoes how most Filipino migrants experiences of forget the language of our mothers tongue as we continue assimilate and colonize ourselves in order to belong and be accepted in the Colonized lands we inhabit. The center piece of the table settings will be adorned with flowers, candles and white washing products purchased from my local Filipino Store, and Filipino toys from souvenir shops in the Philippines.

6 Filipino Narra, Kamagong, Rattan, Carabao Bone Dining Chairs, 19th Century

The table is accompanied by six chairs made by the artisans from Paete, Laguna who are well known as native furniture makers in the Philippines. The chairs are made of Phil mahogany (narra) wood and inlaid with native carabao bones creating intricate designs. The seats are made of interwoven well treated rattan. On loan by Rick & Tess Malonzo from the Malonzo Family.

1) Kamayan na! (Let’s eat with our hands now!) 2020
2) Hoy, huwag ka nang maarte diyan! (Hey, don’t be pretentious/extra/diva!) 2020
3) Bonggang bonga ang dating ng hapag kainan! (This table setting is so extra and extravagant!) 2020
4) Paki abot naman yung Patis? (Can you please pass the fish sauce?) 2020
5) Hay naku, nasaan ang kanin! (Geez, where is the rice?) 2020
6) Ano ba ito? Pang ulam ba ito sa kanin? (What’s this? Is this savouries for rice?) 2020

Rice Tagalog Texts Plates Series, 2020

Antique decorative Chinastyle Simpsons (Potters) LTD England Moonstone Dinner Plates, Weimar Germany Katharina Dessert Plates, decorated with basmati rice stained with Filipino Soy Sauce, Permanent Marker, and Supper Glue. Dimensions: 10.5 inches diameter Dinner Plates, 7.5 inches diameter Dessert Plates.

Kamayan na! Erasing My Tagalog (Let’s eat with our hands now!) 2021

Digital animated GIF projected on TV Screen 13 seconds looped. Rice Tagalog Texts Plates. Antique decorative Chinastyle Simpsons (Potters) LTD England Moonstone Dinner Plates, Weimar Germany Katharina Dessert Plates, decorated with basmati rice stained with Filipino Soy Sauce, Permanent Marker, and Supper Glue.

The Rice Queen’s Regalia, 2020
The Rice Queen’s Regalia, 2020
The Rice Queen’s Regalia, 2020
The Rice Queen’s Regalia, 2020 (Details)
The Rice Queen’s Regalia, 2020 (Details, Top View)
The Rice Queen’s Regalia Brown Rice Pillow, 2020 (Details)

The Rice Queen’s Regalia, 2020

Crown Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 10 (h) inches \ Installation Measurements: 13 x 19 x 13 (h) inches

Sculpture Installation of a replica of the Spanish Royal Crown constructed from synthetic recycled red Dollarama bag, plain Basmati rice and Basmati rice stained with Filipino soy sauce, printed images of Filipino whitewashing product logos, white gay porn, and the artists collected fingernails. The crown sits on a square altered bag of rice, replacing the pillow that the crown usually sits on. The square bag of rice crafted by the artists mother Juliet D. Manapul, 2020. The choice of the Spanish Monarchy Regalia symbolizes the colonization of Spain to the Philippines. The Rice Queen character have always been present in my art practice and at times performed by myself, and through most of my digital body of work. The term “Rice Queen” is a derogatory word that is given to white queer men who has a preference for Asian queer men, usually as an exoticization fantasy of objectification of the Asian characteristics, merely viewing us as objects of fetish that perpetuates racist representations with a narrow spectrum of understanding. This context of understandings represents the Asian Queer Male bodies viewed as passive, domestic, soft, feminine, docile and ready to serve any master which then would fall as the white colonial representation of homonormative entitled queer whiteness that are usually placed upon a pedestal through the social media of the templated queer representations.

Decolonizing Antiques

© Julius Poncelet Manapul 2021

CONTRIBUTORS BIOS

KEY ARTISTS & OTHER CONTRIBUTORS BIOS:

JULIUS PONCELET MANAPUL

Immigrated to Canada in 1990, attained a BFA at OCAD U in 2009, Professional Art Studio certificate from TSA in 2011, Masters of Visual Studies at UofT in 2013, Sexual Diversity Studies certificate at UofT in 2013. Presented at The Paradise Now Collective (2011), Nuit Blanche-Toronto (2010, 2012 and 2014), Toronto World Pride Affiliated Art Event (2014), performed at the AGO (2017), shown works at Koffler Gallery, A Space Gallery, UTAC Gallery, UWAG Gallery, John B. Aird Gallery, Proppeller Gallery, PM Gallery, Daniel Spectrum as well as UK, France, Germany and US.

Born in Manila, Philippines in 1980, Julius is a migrant Filipinx artist from the Ilocano tribe; a descendant of Maria Josefa Gabriela Carino de Silang from the artists father’s mother side (the Carino family tree). Maria is known as an anti-colonial fighter during the 18th century Spanish rule over the Philippines—the first female leader of a Filipino movement for independence from Spain. This background informs Julius’ research and artistic practice, as they excavate the experience of immigration and assimilation through cultural erasure. The artist explore more of these Filipinx histories in his 2020-2021 solo show “Decolonizing Antiquities” at the John B. Aird Gallery.

Addressing eternal displacement through themes of colonialism, sexual identity, diasporic bodies, global identity construction, and the Eurocentric Western hegemony, Julius’ artwork focuses on the hybrid nature of Filipinx culture after colonialism and the gaze of queer identities as taxonomy. Their recent research project looks at the narratives for many diasporic queer bodies that create an unattainable imagined space of lost countries and domestic belongings through colonial pedagogy of knowledge and globalized imperial power. Hybrid images question the problematic side of queer communities that uphold homonormativity through whitewashing and internalized racism, and act to challenge forms of oppression.

DR. ROBERT DIAZ

Ph.D., M.Phil (English, The Graduate Center - City University of New York); B.A. (English, University of California - Riverside)

Dr. Robert Diaz is Assistant Professor of transnational feminisms, globalization, and sexuality studies at the Women and Gender Studies Institute. His research, teaching, and community work focus on the intersections of Asian diasporic, postcolonial, and queer studies. Diaz pays particular attention to Filipino/a cultural practices as these are affected by, and affect, histories of empire. In Canada, Diaz has taught at OCAD University and Wilfrid Laurier University. In the United States, he has taught at Wayne State University, USC, UCLA, and Scripps College. In the Philippines, he has taught at De La Salle University. His research has appeared in numerous academic journals, including Journal of Asian American Studies, Signs, GLQ, Women and Performance, and Plaridel, as well as foundational collections such as Philippine Palimpsests: Essays for the 21st Century (NYU Press) and Global Asian Popular Culture (NYU Press).

Together with Marissa Largo and Fritz Pino, Diaz is also the co-editor of Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries. This ground-breaking book brings together artists, scholars, and community members to discusses the contributions of LGBTQ Filipinos/as to Canadian culture and society. It is the inaugural work for the Critical Insurgencies Series at Northwestern University Press, edited by Jodi A Byrd and Michelle M. Wright.

Diaz is also completing his single authored book, Reparative Acts: Redressive Nationalisms in Queer Filipino Lives. This work examines Filipino popular culture from the 1970’s onwards in order to chart the links between nationalisms, redress, and queer acts of resistance. This book is forthcoming with Temple University Press.

At the heart of all his academic pursuits are Diaz’s commitment to equity and social justice. He has thus worked with many community organizations in the greater Toronto area that seek to better the lives of people of color, queer, Indigenous, and differently abled communities. He has collaborated with Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), UKPC/FCYA, Magkaisa Centre and Kapisanan Centre, encouraging multiple forms of capacity building, pedagogy and learning beyond higher education.

Diaz is open to mentoring and supervising students working the following fields: Postcolonial Studies, Transnational and Globalization Studies, Queer Studies, Asian Diasporic Studies, and Filipino Studies.

AMINA FARAH

Amina Farah is a queer Somali writer who calls Toronto home and has roots in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work is inspired by the folklore and storytelling she heard as a child and her experiences with migration are central to the themes of identity, belonging, and displacement that are often explored in her stories.

She completed an MFA in creative writing at the University of Guelph and continues to be inspired to write by her brilliant adopted queer family of impassioned storytellers and artists.

JOWENNE CARPO HERRERA

Jowenne Carpo Herrera is a queer migrant Filipinx visual artist and designer who works with various media integrating painting, drawing, illustration, photography and typography. Many of his works depict subjects drawn from nature and daily urban landscapes – experimenting with the dualities and tensions between identities, societies and idealisms. He thrives in the diversity of thought – inspired by the many things he sees, feels and experiences every day. Herrera holds a degree in Communications & Design, Marketing & Advertising from the Ontario College of Art and Design University. He is a Registered Graphic Designer of Ontario (RGD) and Certification Portfolio Evaluator for the association. He owns ABAKADA design + communication, and for over 20 years has been delivering creative design solutions across public, private and not for profit sectors – specializing in brand development, editorial design and graphic illustration. He is a senior consultant on the Ontario Place Revitalization Branch, He served as John B. Aird Gallery Chair/President and Director in Toronto for over 10 years; stepping down from the Aird board in July 2019.

CARLA GARNET

Carla Garnet is the Director and Curator of the John B. Aird Gallery and the JOUEZ curator for the annual BIG on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture in Toronto. She has worked as the curator at the Art Gallery of Peterborough (2010-2013), as a guest curator at Gallery Stratford (2009-2010), as an independent curator (1997-2010), and was the founder and director of Garnet Press Gallery (1984-97). Garnet holds an Associate Diploma from the Ontario College of Art and Design and a Masters Degree in Art History from York University. Garnet is interested in the politics of the art exhibition and its potential to function as a common—a public space for dialogue. Her curatorial area of interest engages with an exploration of work that presents the possibility of existing simultaneously in many tenses or occupying more than one subject position at once, or both as a way to open up space for greater empathy. For Garnet, an artwork’s significance is tied up with an ability to say what otherwise might be unsayable.

Many Thanks from Julius P.M.

Through these unique times of isolation and distance, the artist would like to give special thanks to the time & efforts given by:

Carla Garnet, John Abrams, Jackson Abrams, Jowenne Herrera, Erin Storus, Jennifer Vong, Robert Diaz, Amina Farah, Neda Omidvar, Emil Vakhidov, Steve Moody, Juliet Manapul, Francis Jay Manapul, Rachel Richey, Linda Robichaud

The John B. Aird Gallery & Charles Street Video

"You're Whitewashing Me With Your Soap" Collage 2020. Medium: Likas Skin Whitening FIlipino Soap & Sterioscopic Photograph of Pasig River, Manila, Philippines 1899 from Underwood & Underwood
Created By
Julius Manapul
Appreciate