From May 14-28, 2022, ReConnect/ReCollect will host a two-week, paid residency at the University of Michigan that invites three visual artists– Maia Cruz Palileo, Francis Estrada, and Janna Añonuevo Langholz– to engage our Philippine collections, exploring the themes of archives, material history, decolonial praxis and restitution, and Filipino, Filipinx, and/or Indigenous identity. The artists, carefully selected among many talented applicants, will not be obliged to produce original work either during or after the residency period; rather, the residency shall serve as an opportunity to engage in conversations with the ReConnect team and the Filipino/Filipinx community around creative expression as inspired or provoked by the content of our collections in the encounter with them. As a collective of scholars and community members deeply interested in defining and exploring what it means to decolonize Philippine collections, we ourselves are in the midst of learning, reflecting on, and effecting change as a team. Together we will ponder the history of imperialism, collecting, and archives in a process that fosters openness and exploration. More to come.
ReConnect/ReCollect works in partnership with collections faculty at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library, Special Collections Research Center, and Museum of Anthropological Archaeology to create recommendations for representing Philippine collections held by various campus units.
Maia Cruz Palileo
Maia Cruz Palileo is a multidisciplinary, Brooklyn-based artist. They completed their BA in Studio Art from Mount Holyoke College in 2001, and received their MFA in Sculpture from Brooklyn College in 2008. In 2015, they attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, in Madison, ME. They are a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Program Grant, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, the NYFA Painting Fellowship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Award, and the Astraea Visual Arts Fund Award.
Migration and the permeable concept of home are constant themes in their paintings, installations, sculptures, and drawings. Influenced by the oral history of their family’s arrival in the United States from the Philippines, as well as the history between the two countries, Maia infuses these narratives using both memory and imagination. When stories and memories are subjected to time and constant retelling, the narratives become questionable, bordering the line between fact and fiction, while remaining cloaked in the convincingly familiar.
Born in the Philippines and currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, Francis Estrada is an artist and educator. He has a fine arts degree in painting and drawing, and has taught in a variety of studio, classroom, and museum settings to diverse audiences, including programs for adults with disabilities, cultural institutions, and after-school programs. As an educator, he enjoys teaching about the amalgamation of art and culture through objects. His artwork focuses on culture, history, and perception.
Through his artwork, he interrogates how visual cues found in historical photographs, mass media, political propaganda, and personal archives influence or inflect social or cultural narratives. By playing with the presentation of allusive (often figural) imagery, he creates a space that is uncannily recognizable yet opaque. As figuration is understood to derive meaning from its varying distances from naturally occurring forms, or reality, it holds special meaning in constructing personal and social histories. His objective is to play with the nature of that correspondence.
Janna Añonuevo Langholz
Janna Añonuevo Langholz is an interdisciplinary artist, photographer, and independent researcher born at the former site of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and lives and works at the site of the Philippine Village. Her research primarily investigates the period of US colonization of the Philippines between 1898-1946 and how it has shaped the histories and geographies of the US Midwest and South.
Añonuevo received a BFA in Fibers from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri in 2011 and an MFA in Photography from SMU Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas in 2013. She is the founder of Filipino American Artist Directory and the caretaker of the Philippine Village Historical Site in St. Louis. She has also worked in media accessibility for six years.