Introducing the Mahal Art Exhibit
In his book White Love, Vicente Rafael considers the Tagalog word “mahal” as a translation for the word ‘love’. It refers to that which is dear, but also means valuable and expensive. Rafael writes that such ambiguities express love as a promise of fulfilment–and a costly one.
MAHAL is an artistic exploration of the desires which carry the Filipina/o across borders.
Photography by Deyan Denchev
Photos from the Mahal Art Exhibit
Essay by Chaya Erika Go, UBC Anthropology (4th year, undergraduate)
“MAHAL: an artistic exploration of the desires which carry the filipina/o across borders”
To culminate a series of events organised by the UBC Philippine Studies Series with guest lecturer, Dr Vicente L. Rafael, an art exhibit entitled MAHAL was held at the YACTAC gallery from October 28 to November 4, 2011. The name of the exhibit was inspired as such: In his book White Love (2000), Vicente L. Rafael considers the Filipino word ‘mahal’ as a translation for the word ‘love’. It refers to that which is dear, but also means valuable and expensive. Rafael writes that such ambiguities express love as a promise of fulfilment –and a costly one.
Artists were invited to submit their interpretations of what constitutes such desires, and what a ‘border’ signifies relating to their reflections on Filipino transnationals. Both as a co-curator and a participating artist in MAHAL, this paper is written as a post-exhibit reflective analysis of the processes I engaged with in this project: (1) interpreting the theme as expressed in the submissions, (2) designing the space to narrate the whole collection, and (3) witnessing the dynamic ways a Filipino transnational community is re-created in Vancouver through MAHAL. This paper is structured in these three sections accordingly. The reflections conveyed in this paper come from my own direct experiences, which are then interwoven with analyses put forward by Filipino artists and scholars of transnationalism. Through discussions with my co-curator, and conversations with artists and guests, this paper attempts to be inclusive of the wide variety of experiences created by MAHAL, but is careful not to claim authority over these individual experiences.