Marikit Santiago | He (2017) | oil, acrylic, Dutch metal gold leaf and pyrography on ply | 52cm x 40cm
My practice examines a personal conflict of cultural plurality at the conjunction of Filipina ethnicity and Australian nationality. My work navigates the simultaneous sensations of acceptance and rejection of adopted and inherited cultures, which has been conditioned by autobiographical experiences within and between developed and developing worlds.
In engaging with these concerns, I access Filipino history and culture. A study of the military legacy, literature, mythology, religion, politics, socio-economic status and popular culture inform my work. The collective experiences and memory of my immediate family provides access to the oral traditions of mythology and religious customs.
My work employs traditional, figurative oil painting techniques as well as more innovative methods of pyrography (burning) and ‘polar painting’ (painting the negative colours of an image). A combination of these techniques is used to construct a layering of imagery and various types of marks.
I source recycled or repurposed material such as plywood, MDF board and other found objects and surfaces referencing the makeshift domestic constructions found in the Philippines and the ethos of ‘making-do’, an aspect of Filipino life. In addition, the use of found materials challenges the perception of value; oscillating between high and low, demonstrating my own perceptions of value and how it is ascribed to my cultural identities.
My work aims to reflect the interweaving of my ethnic, cultural and social identities. In this way, my practice has become more than a mode of artistic production, expanding to become a space for decolonising, intersectional thinking and cross-cultural dialogue. In motherhood, my practice has evolved not only crossing disciplines to include creative writing, installation and community engagement, but also further in the way of multigenerational story-telling and seeks ways to pass Filipino culture to my children in a contemporary Australian context.