Exhibition to launch first directory of Fil-Am artists
WASHINGTON, DC — A directory of Filipino-American visual artists will be launched on May 13 at Was Gallery with a month-long exhibition.
The Fil/Am Artist Directory features 22 artists from across the United States and Canada and includes artwork, artist biographical information and interviews.
Artist Janna Añonuevo Langholz conceived the project in 2015. “I started the directory because I was surprised by the absence of Filipino artists in the art history canon and in contemporary art news,” she says.
She’d been taking a master’s degree in photography at Southern Methodist University in Texas that year. “In graduate school, I had difficulty finding information about other Filipino and Fil-Am artists.”
Langholz, whose mother hails from Laguna, also wanted to provide a way for Fil-Am artists to connect with each other. “As well as a resource for students, educators, and curators to find information about the diaspora of Filipino artists in the United States.”
Promote and support
The directory is available in print and ebook editions and was completely funded from an online crowdfunding campaign that Langholz opened last year.
Proceeds from this edition will fund future issues and related exhibitions and activities.
Langholz intends to “promote and support Fil/Am visual artists across the United States, especially those in underrepresented regions including the Midwest and South.”
Born, raised and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Langholz received her bachelor in fine arts from Truman State University. Her recent exhibits include “Resistance” in San Francisco, “Into the Wilderness” in Portland, and “Burnt Rice” in Hilo, Hawaii.
In addition to Langholz herself, featured artists include Adrian Alarilla, Kimberley Acebo Arteche, Katrina Bella, Joella Cabalu, Isabel Cuenca, Rea Lynn de Guzman, Ulysses Duterte, Jana Ercilla, Alvin Pagdanganan Gregorio, Isabel Manalo, Matt Manalo, Cyril Maza, Lorna Maza, Maryrose Cobarrubias Mendoza, Ged Merino, Kim Miranda, Kimo Nelson, Carlo Ricafort, Yumi Janairo Roth, Jean Vengua, and Pamela Ybanez.
Langholz also set up FilAmArtistDirectory.com to “serve as a living archive for the directory as it grows and changes on a day-to-day basis.”
To craft the directory’s content, she worked with artist/arts writer Isabel Manalo and poet/writer Eileen Tabios. “They’re both fantastic, respected artists and writers, and have provided a lot of support for the project.”
Both are still involved with the directory’s related activities. Tabios is the editor of the website’s written-works section while Manalo proposed the launch exhibition and is co-curating it with Langholz.
Titled “De(Centered),” the exhibition features works by most of the artists included in the directory. Three artists featured in the exhibition will be included in the next issue of the directory: Daniel Ballesteros, Maia Cruz Palileo and Melanie Gritzka del Villar.
“The title comes from the idea of redefining ‘center’ when many of us immigrated from or still have strong ties to the Philippines. The artists included in the exhibition are located throughout the United States, on both coasts and in the Midwest. I think these artists all show a connection to both the Philippines and the US in their work and the attempt to remain centered in both places.”
The location of the exhibition is also part of its context. “As the US capital, Washington, DC is undoubtedly a meaningful and charged place to host an event.
“Our history as Filipino Americans is often forgotten, and bringing our work to the center of US government will be a reminder of our presence and relationship with this country,” says Langholz.
“Fil/Am Artist Directory” book launch is 6pm, May 13. “De(Centered)” exhibition runs May 13-June 16. Both at Was Gallery, 5110 Ridgefield Rd., Bethesda, Maryland. Visit FilAmArtistDirectory.com.