Fil-Am sculptor opens 'Courage' exhibit in San Francisco | Inquirer
 
 
 
 
 
 

‘Courage’ exhibit honors heroism of Filipina WWII veteran

The exhibit by Filipino American lawyer and sculptor Elaine Antonio Bordeaux will run until July 12
/ 07:44 PM July 09, 2024

Elaine Bordeaux

Filipino American artist Elaine Antonio Bordeaux (left), with Bay Area Filipino Community leader Polly Cortez, unveils her bronze sculpture of Filipino World War II hero Magdalena “Maggie” Leones during the opening of the “Courage” exhibit at the Philippine Center in San Francisco. Photo from San Francisco PCG

SAN FRANCISCO – As part of the celebration of the 78th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States, the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco is hosting the “Courage” exhibit at the Philippine Center’s Kalayaan Hall this week.

The solo exhibit by Colorado-based Filipino American immigration lawyer and bronze sculptor Elaine Antonio Bordeaux marks the second leg of her “Courage” exhibition tour, which was first staged at the Philippine Embassy in Madrid, Spain, in November 2023.

The main showcase of the 16-piece exhibition is a bronze sculpture of Filipino World War II hero and “Lioness of Filipino Guerilla Spies” Magdalena “Maggie” Leones, which was unveiled during the exhibit’s opening reception on Monday.

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In his welcome remarks, Philippine Consul General Neil Ferrer recognized the heroic acts of Leones during WWII as a bearer of intelligence information and vital equipment that earned her the Silver Star Medal, becoming the first and only Asian to receive one of the highest honors for valor in combat by the US Armed Forces.

Leones was a longtime Bay Area resident before her death in Richmond in 2016. She was later interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in the Philippines.

“To the family of Maggie Leones who are with us this evening, I wish to convey that the Filipino people consider her a hero,” Ferrer said. “Rest assured that her legacy will never be diminished nor forgotten by future generations of Filipinos and Filipino Americans.”

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Ferrer said the Philippines-US alliance is at an all-time high, grounded on the legacy left behind by Filipino veterans of WWII.

“While the patriotism of Filipino World War II heroes such as Maggie Leones is often remembered in historical moments such as the Fall of Bataan and the Death March, it must be befitting that their most important legacy is not only the freedom that we gained as a people, but also the independence that we achieved later on as a nation,” the consul general added.

“Courage” showcases Bordeaux’s sculptures in bronze, which depict her Filipino heritage, life experiences in the Philippines and the US, and her aspirations for her homeland. She uses bronze as her medium because of its strength and enduring quality.

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Ferrer thanked Bordeaux for bringing her exhibit to San Francisco all the way from Colorado – one of the 10 states under the Consulate’s jurisdiction.

Ferrer also expressed his appreciation for her efforts to create and install a bronze statue of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal in Colorado Springs through her nonprofit, the Dr. Jose Rizal Legacy International Foundation.

Elaine Bordeaux exhibit

Posing with the bronze sculpture of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal are (from left) Filipino American artist Elaine Antonio Bordeaux, Philippine Consul General Neil Ferrer and Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo. Photo from San Francisco PCG

Ferrer and Bordeaux formally opened the exhibit with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo delivered her remarks during the program.

After a powerful performance by X Factor Philippines finalist Mark Mabasa, a Filipino-themed cocktail reception followed, courtesy of Kusina ni Javen Jesel.

A proud Caviteña, Bordeaux is a Filipina American lawyer, immigrant advocate and visual artist. In her 16 years of law practice, she has represented human trafficking victims and Filipino workers in the United States for violations of labor laws. She is a volunteer lawyer of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network, where she helps children immigrants from war-torn countries.

In October 2023, Bordeaux was inducted into the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World by the Filipina Women’s Network.

The exhibit will run until July 12.

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