still. here. now.here is an ongoing project that started as a calligraphic series on paper. In the performance, the act of writing became a meditative action with deliberate, ritualistic movements while opening up the possibilities of language. It has since evolved to include performative/wearable textiles that look back on historical Philippine garments projected into the future.
The garments are wearable but they are not about fashion and its system of commodification. Doing research on these garments and remaking them from tracings is like being a cartographer trying to find some degree of clarity and substance. They are related to the calligraphy and drawing in how they move and transform with the body.
While teaching English in Japan, I noticed my students wrote words in their phonetic equivalent to help in their pronounciation. But in the process, visually, the words stretched, becoming blunt rather than sharp, or overlap with words that have different meanings creating a play on words or creating new words all together. It is similar to the local patois of queers in the Phillipines, who manipulate English into their own subversive patois as a shared language of resistance.
Worn by the artist Nica Aquino, this grouping of textiles was inspired by Oaxacan huipiles and Northern Philippine garments. In their original context, these garments were like wearable flags with markings identifying a person's village, region and affiliation. In my iteration, they refer to the wearer belonging to the ground, the greenery, the ocean and the sky. Each garment could be worn multiple ways - as a poncho, a shawl, a vest, a robe. The next two photos shows the same garment
Worn by the artist Nica Aquino. The pattern for this garment was traced from a Philippine camisa circa 1920. It was then triple dyed in indigo to give it a deep sea color to match with an earthy green and brown saya. Normally, this garment is starched stiff but I decided to keep it relaxed, languid and wearable.