New art projects showcase Fil-Am identity in SF

SAN FRANCISCO – Fil-Ams gathered at the Asian Art Museum to say that the stories of our arrival in the U.S. and their struggles to build lives here are essential to understand how we can successfully lead our community toward a more positive future.

Artist Jerome Reyes captured some of these stories through an audio project entitled “An Incomplete Caption.”

“The project “Incomplete Caption” came from an idea that what histories are recorded and saved in institutions in the Bay Area in which gentrification, redevelopment all these different forces are moving all these people out and yet migrants are still coming in and that’s a lot of a long term Filipino narrative within the United States and outside the United States,” said Reyes.

Stories were taken from the South of Market neighborhood which is historically home to many Filipino immigrants.

“Filipinos are very use to not talking about the struggles that we faced when coming to America. We have a lot of pride in our culture,” said interviewer Mary Claire Amable. “We need to start voicing out our opinions on things because at the end of the day our voices and opinions really matter.”

The evening also featured a conversation with educator and Daly City native Jeremy Villaluz on his photography project “Enclave” which displays how his hometown is being affected by class, politics, and gentrification.

“Through the research that I’ve engaged in and the photography that I’ve done, the work that I’ve done in the community through education that that’s what it’s really about for me is that I really want everybody to understand that not only do we come from a very vibrant community but there’s also a very vibrant possibility for us,” said Villaluz.

The Fil-Ams artists hope that their projects can start what they see as needed conversation to really empower the Fil-Am community.

“It’s a way that I could encourage other people in the audience that you don’t necessarily need a degree to talk about what you lived through and more importantly you don’t need permission to talk about who you are and have other places recognized that,” said Reyes.

Reyes’ “An Incomplete Caption” will be on permanent display in the Asian Art Museum.

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