On Sunday July 8, a group of PCHC-MoM directors, staff and volunteers attended the opening reception of Scattering & Gathering, a new, public art exhibit on Filipino migration at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver’s Yaletown.
Scattering & Gathering features work by Spanish-Filipina-Punjabi poet Lakshmi Gill on her “unsettled” way of life as an immigrant, and printmaker Lenore R.S. Lim. Joining them are several Filipino artists who also currently live in BC: Chito Maravilla, Danvic Briones, Esmie McLaren, photographers Stuart Naval Dee and Art Calapatia, and poets Maria Castillo and Wilbur Victoria.
Opening the reception was curator Jing Palad with a beautiful speech on the themes behind this exhibit and the history of migration from the Philippines:
“Scattering & Gathering assembles a group of Filipino artists and poets who moved from the Philippines and chose Canada as their new home. The exhibition presents a collection of themes as told through poetry and art that speak about experiences related to immigration: the turmoil of displacement, struggles with identity, negotiating with new realities, and the triumph that comes with finally rebuilding a new life in a new country…
“Our story is long and one fraught with separation from families, loved ones and the culture that emboldened us. There are many stories of shock from one’s first winter or first Christmas spent alone. There have been works of art that speak about isolation, the struggle between keeping one’s culture close to the heart, while at the same time learning to create new traditions in a new country. And both art and literature have been borne out of the curiosity and the effort to understand a new place.”
(Read Palad’s full speech here.)
As part of the opening reception, Lakshmi Gill shared her poem, “Mother’s Line As Logarithmic Spiral”, featured in this exhibit beside Lim’s art; Maria Rita Castillo read a poem she had written in Tagalog (then translated into English) about her feelings when she first left the Philippines. Several other artists and poets were also present on the day to further share their thoughts in discussions with attendees as we toured the space.
Visitors who approach with “curiosity and the effort to understand a new place” – and others’ experience of this – will be well rewarded in their experience of Scattering & Gathering.
Running now until July 12 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver BC, V6Z 2W3.