Angela Delos Reyes Outside/Inside
I have a unique experience being raised in the United States and maintaining my cultural connection to the Philippines with occasional summer visits beginning when I was four years old. Because of this, I do not identify strongly with being either an American or Filipino and struggle with how to present myself.
I am exploring the idea of forcibly combining different aspects of my experience that otherwise would not be put together, representative of how my identity is created in a similar manner. My focus is on Filipino culture and on the ideas of culture, identity, and experience. Since coming to Washington & Lee, I have become more protective of who I am. This comes from situations where I am forced to confront curious, confused, or racist remarks regarding my nationality. I fear that assimilating into the niche WLU culture, my story would be forgotten or repressed. I work with mosquito nets and blankets from Ibaan, my hometown in the Philippines. Ibaan is unique in that it is able to maintain a specific culture and atmosphere despite being surrounded by four major cities (Batangas City, Lipa City, Rosario, and San Jose). It is most known for habi (weaving) and kulambo (mosquito net) products. My mother's side of the family was involved in this industry as it was one of their main sources of income. This influenced my decision to work in textiles, specifically kulambo, as a way to pay homage. I am also interested in playing with gender roles and using what is considered housework and feminine in my pieces. I am pulling from my personal experiences and forcing them into a different context. In the portrait series, I asked a group of friends to direct a photoshoot given a brief outline of my thesis. I was able to see what aspects of myself stood out to those individuals and how they view me based on the stories that I have shared with them. I think that personal narratives are the most powerful form of storytelling. I feel a sense of duty in making my story be heard, especially considering that Filipinos are often grouped into other minor groups or forgotten entirely. My work serves as both a narrative and commentary on the beliefs and traditions that I have been raised with in the United States by Filipino immigrants.