Forest Lawn Museum Presents “Filipino California: Art and the Filipino Diaspora”

On view at Forest Lawn Museum from April 20–September 8, 2024

Forest Lawn Museum presents Filipino California: Art and the Filipino Diaspora.

The exhibition showcases the work of seven contemporary artists working across styles and formats, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, conceptual art, and more. The artists in the exhibit—Eliseo Art Silva, Allison Hueman, Anthony Francisco, Maryrose Cobarrubias Mendoza, Christine Morla, Maria Villote, and Junn Roca—directly and indirectly address issues related to Filipino culture and the Filipino-American experience.

Eliseo Art Silva is among the most visible Filipino-American artists today. One of his major public art projects in Los Angeles is Talang Gabay: Our Guiding Star (2022), the gateway arch in Historic Filipinotown. Silva was born in Manila and migrated to the United States when he was seventeen. Today he has studios in both the United States and the Philippines. Silva’s studio art incorporates elements of surrealism and is charged with political meaning that examines his experiences as an immigrant and honors the sacrifices and contributions of Filipinos in America.

Allison Hueman is an Oakland-based artist whose diverse portfolio includes outdoor murals, fine art painting, and immersive installations. Hueman first gained prominence with her street art, and she is recognized for her distinct style, which she calls “etherealism.”

Anthony Francisco is a creator, director, illustrator, and concept artist who has worked on a range of creative projects, including more than twenty films. For nine years, he worked as a Senior Visual Development Artist for Marvel Studios, where he designed iconic characters such as Baby Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy), Loki (Thor), and the Dora Milaje warriors (Black Panther).

Christine Morla is a multidisciplinary artist best known for her installations that examine color, texture, and scale. Inspired by the Philippine banig, handwoven mats used for sleeping and sitting, Morla creates labor-intensive installations with hundreds of pieces of painted paper, found materials, and smaller weavings.

Maryrose Cobarrubias Mendoza is a multidisciplinary artist who examines the impact of history, memory, and nostalgia on individual experience. She was raised in Manila before emigrating to Los Angeles as a young child, and her artwork comes out of her experience as part of the Filipino diaspora. Mendoza plays with scale, material, and perspective to transform existing images and objects into new artworks.

Maria Villote was born in Manila and immigrated to the United States at the age of ten. Her artwork explores important topics around diasporic identities including assimilation, cultural alienation, and feelings of foreignness. Many of her pieces use recognizable objects in surprising or unexpected ways. Villote aims to highlight the cultural amalgamation that occurs when two worlds collide, drawing analogies between cultures while exploring similarities and differences.

For over forty years, Junn Roca has worked in both fine art and commercial art. He was born and raised in the Philippines, where he apprenticed for noted Filipino painter Felix Gonzales. After moving to the United States in 1979, Roca began a successful career in the animation industry, working as a background artist and earning two Emmy Awards. Today Roca works primarily as a plein air painter, and the exhibition features works that shows scenes ranging from rustic villages in the Philippines to iconic California landscapes.

The exhibition was curated by Museum Director James Fishburne, PhD. He said, “We are thrilled to showcase this group of artists and their expressions of Filipino culture across genres and styles. From Anthony Francisco’s contributions to popular culture, to Allison Hueman’s influence in the realms of street art and studio painting, the artists in this exhibition offer us a better understanding of Filipino culture and its impact on contemporary society.” Eliseo Art Silva stated, “Filipinos have been in California for centuries and continue to shape the state. It’s an honor to exhibit alongside other Filipino-American artists and explore the commonalities and variations among our perspectives on the culture of the Philippines and the impact we have made on the culture of California.”

The exhibition will be on view at Forest Lawn Museum from April 20–September 8, 2024.

The free, family-friendly event includes free parking, and is open to the public, ADA compliant, and wheelchair accessible.

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