Maia Cruz Palileo
Photographs of places where my family has lived are resources for my paintings, specifically Manila and Chicago. As a child of immigrants, I adopted a hyphenated concept of home. My family’s oral histories painted a carefully constructed picture of the people and country they left behind. Where a language barrier between generations could lead to misinterpretation, it also created pathways for imagination and invention. As such, the tradition of passing down oral history is one of improvisation, relying on memory and imagination to fill in the gaps. The more these stories were repeated, the more questionable they became. My painting process mirrors this method of storytelling by editing and censoring visual information. They are reconstructions based on a mixture of photographic references and retrospection. Comprised of layers of thin oil paint, some areas accumulate, creating thick, palpable textures, representing parts constantly retold. Other areas remain thin and transparent, reflecting information withheld or erased, bringing to light aspects of history that remain silent, lost in the transference of migration, colonization, and the passing of generations.