Need a warm Filipino group hug? Visit this Fil-Am artist’s museum

Need a warm Filipino group hug? Visit this immersive museum

From bahay kubo to black butterflies, symbols of deceased loved ones, the ‘Group Hug’ exhibit embraces Filipino culture 
/ 08:52 PM March 12, 2024

Need a warm Filipino group hug? Get one at this Fil-Am artist’s immersive museum

Photo from The Fabric Workshop and Museum/Facebook

Would you rather care or be cared for? This Filipino American artist’s interactive workshop and museum welcomes you to the core of caregiving, family and cultural identity all wrapped up in the vibrant colors of a tequila sunrise.

Step into a world that exudes the vibes of a cocktail’s orange and pink hues mash-up in Philadelphia. Welcome to “Group Hug” — an interactive art display of New York-based interactive installation sculpture artist Risa Puno.

Puno’s art display is a homage to Filipino nostalgia, heritage and the need for care. Imagine this: an arcade theme where the game of life meets the Filipino sweet treat halo-halo that depicts mixing it up — literally, as halo means mix in Tagalog.

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“In affectionate terms, I call it Halo-Halo,” shares Puno, instilling parallels between her immersive art and the layered colorful dessert.

Stemming from a two-year collaboration with the FWM Studio, this Fil-Am artist’s creations come to life like a game and award players with insights on cultural identity, caregiving and family dynamics.

You may also like: Cartoon art museum celebrates Pinoy comic book artists

To care or be cared for? Choose your path

Upon arriving on the eighth floor, you’re given a choice between two paths: “cared for” or “care for.” It’s more than just an entrance – it’s a reflection of the roles we portray in each other’s lives.

If you’re curious to know what’s at the end of both choices, you can discover both sides of this emotional maze before your adventure ends. 

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Visitors and players can choose to enter into a multiplayer game that builds camaraderie through teamwork, or chill and unwind solo among green felt leaves in large pods inspired by coconuts.

Drawing inspiration from the Fil-Am artist’s personal narrative of how her family adjusted to her father’s chronic health condition, this museum is a deep dive into the ebbs and flows of caring and being cared for.

A ‘Group Hug’ that embraces Filipino ‘kapwa’

The exhibit’s theme, “Group Hug,” is an ode to kapwa, a Filipino embodiment of communal sharing and care. 

Additionally, it displays the traditional Filipino hut, bahay kubo, a nod to the spirit of collective support or bayanihan. As visitors pass the bahay kubo, you’ll see black butterflies adorning the house — which, in the Philippines, symbolizes the visitation of loved ones who passed away.

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A post shared by Risa Puno (@risapuno)

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Filipino immigrant parents, this Fil-Am artist navigates the complex rhythm of embracing her cultural roots while cementing her identity in America.

This visually impressive art exhibit is the Fil-Am artist’s heartfelt invitation to peel the layers of Filipino American identity, care and community. 

Located at The Fabric Workshop and Museum at 1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, this vibrant and emotionally rich installation opened last March 1 and will run until July 21. Click here to plan your visit. 

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TAGS: art exhibit, Filipino American artists, museum, Philadelphia, Trending
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