Often interactive and experiential, I create sculptures, installations and performances that center on empowerment as it relates to being a Filipinx woman. Grounded in the body, nature and the senses, I express an emancipation of the body through creating agency and empowerment — especially for immigrant women of color. My practice is a declaration of my place in history, and a radical act of decolonization through creating imagined futures. Motivated by the longstanding intimacies of my culture to nature, I explore how plants and flowers from developing countries are appropriated through trade. I draw from metaphor, myth and historical fact, particularly in the history of flowers and plants. I see in these flowers, a metaphor for the Filipina woman, a colonized, commodified and exotified body.
Through the practice of glassblowing I recreate, shape and devise sculptural tools and experiences that engage the senses. These individual glass sculptures come together to form larger interactive and and multi-sensory installations that incorporate video, scent, sound, and performance.
One of the ongoing themes in my work is the reinterpretation of female archetypes in mythology - with a focus on myths surrounding flowers and the female body. In mythology across cultures, transforming the female body into plant form was a narrative theme often used as a form of punishment for women who acted on their desires. I reinterpret these female tropes to address themes of censorship, colonialism and emancipation.
As a Filipina sculptor, I embody the spiritual roots of my culture through the practice of glassblowing. Specifically, I specialize in the technique of glass flameworking, a technique used since the early Mesopotamian era. I use this medium to create work that elevates Filipinx narratives, in order to claim a unique voice in the Western tradition of glass sculpture. Glass as a medium is almost inaccessible to the developing world, unless positioned in a factory setting where people of color are often exploited for cheap labor. I contest these notions through my practice, and create spaces for reimagining the future.
Scent plays a big part in my process. Scent is ephemeral and deeply connected to the part of our brain that interprets emotions. It has grown to become a strong presence in my work for its ability to invoke the aspect of human beings that is often seen as “the feminine” – the feeling body.