Fil-Am roots on display with special Buklod gallery

SAN PEDRO, CA — Filipino artists are celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, by digging deep into Filipino culture through art.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but these painting may be worth hundreds of years.

With help of local Filipino artists, FilAm ARTS and Philippine Expressions launched Buklod — a week long exhibit featuring artworks that depicts Filipino culture, identity and migration.

“It’s my own self portrait I guess,” said artist Diyan Bukobomba. “For me, it’s like trying to see what are my ancestors like… the folk tales from Bicol.”

The pieces displayed at the Croatian Cultural Center come in all shapes and sizes — some in 3D; others wearable. 

“This is what’s great about this exhibit, because it actually highlights their heritage as Filipinos, and how that translates to their art,” said Tina Salonga-Bulchand from the LA-based non-profit arts and cultural organization, FilAm ARTS. “We thought that it’s really a necessary important event to have this year.” 

 The showcase was part of downtown San Pedro’s monthly Artwalk, and gave the chance for Filipino artists to show off their work and their roots — an opportunity that often doesn’t paint itself. 

 “I haven’t really seen Filipino art lately. I think this is a time to step up,” said artist Hana ACBD. “It’s the time for Filipino art to shine.”

 While many enjoy this exhibit, artists like Eliseo Art Silva hope this can be the start of a bigger movement — especially when it comes to Filipinos infiltrating major museums. 

 “Wouldn’t it be great to have the experience walking to a museum seeing Philippine American images and voices, and that can only happen when our community starts investing in art,” said Silva. “Eventually endowing it to a museum, the museum seeing a demand for it, they will display it in a public space like Singapore and Japan. I think this is an important aspect of Filipino empowerment that is missing.”

 The exhibit runs until May 11th, but this is just one of the many events FilAm ARTS is planning, as it builds up for one of the community’s favorite annual masterpieces later on in the year: the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC). 

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