Toronto, ON – On October 1, 2011, witness the Filipino Canadian community’s histories unfold as the “Maleta” (Suitcase) Art Exhibit arrives at the internationally-renowned Nuit Blanche, a contemporary art event that will “transform the City of Toronto from, sunset-to-sunrise” into a night-long ephemera of artistic expression.
In partnership with distinguished community artist, educator and PhD candidate Marissa Largo, the Magkaisa Centre will showcase “Maleta Stories,” a multi-media art installation that will feature pieces from the groundbreaking Maleta Project. Participatory in style and content, “Maleta Stories” will provide a venue for all participants to share their stories of migration to Canada and evoke a sense of historical inclusion. The installation will weave into unison the vast array of narratives and histories of all peoples who have come to Canada in order to create a family tree of migration.
Unlike any typical art installation, each “Maleta” piece to be displayed will depict the migration, realities, struggles and resistance of the Filipino Canadian community against the intensifying social, economic and political exclusion they face in Canadian society. “As Toronto has the largest population of Filipino Canadians, numbering well over 250,000, the arrival of Maleta at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche is our collective assertion that as the third largest visible minority group in Canada, we refuse to be continuously rendered invisible in Canadian society,” says Bryan Taguba, community artist and a member of SIKLAB–Ontario, a Filipino Canadian workers organization.
For fifty years now, the Filipino Canadian community has been struggling to genuinely settle and integrate into Canadian society. As they are rendered to a state of permanent impermanence by anti-worker and racist labour policies, such as the Live-in Caregiver Program and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, unpacking their “Maleta Stories” at Nuit Blanche will instead speak about their true aspirations to successfully take root and build a home in Canada.
Building upon its initial success as the first Filipino Canadian community art exhibit in Ontario, the Maleta Project continues on its journey to redefine the essence of art and culture into tools for social change and transformation. A first in the history of the Filipino Canadian community, this event signifies the community’s strengthening national movement towards genuinely settling, integrating and fully participating in Canadian society.
“Being part of Nuit Blanche is a milestone in our history of community-building and organizing. It will shatter our invisibility and present the reality that we are just as much part of Canadian society as we are active makers of Canadian history,” says Kristoph Aban, a member of the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance—Ontario. “We are very proud and excited to be the first progressive Filipino Canadian community organization to be featured at an internationally-renowned art event,” adds Aban.
The “Maleta” (Suitcase) Art Exhibit will unravel the rich culture of resistance of progressive Filipino Canadians. Its arrival will reignite and reawaken the role of art and culture in transforming the lives of the most oppressed and marginalized sectors of Canadian society. Unpacking our “Maleta Stories” at Nuit Blanche will signal the continuing journey onto reclaiming art and culture from the perspective of the working class in Canada.
“Maleta Stories: An Independent Project for Scotia Bank’s Nuit Blanche”
Art exhibit by Marissa Largo and the Magkaisa Centre
The Centre for International Experience at the University of Toronto
33 St. George Street, Toronto, ON (Spadina and College)
Saturday, October 1 at 7:00pm – October 2 at 7:00am
Visit http://bit.ly/mkcnuitblanche for more details
For more information, contact:
Bryan Taguba or Mervyn Mabini
Facebook & Twitter: ugnayanontario
Organizations under the Magkaisa Centre:
Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance-Ontario (UKPC/FCYA-ON)
SIKLAB Ontario (Sulong Itaguyod Mga Karapatan ng Mga Pilipino sa Labas ng Bansa/Advance and Uphold the Struggle of Filipino Canadian Workers)
Sinag Bayan Arts and Culture Collective