“Instead of being humbled by how tiny we are, we should be impressed that we can understand it.” Dr. Sean Carroll Biologist, Physicist, Cosmologist
I have been deeply affected by the trauma of colonization…but then again, who hasn’t…the desire of governments, of nations to expand its borders and its power and dominion over others has been happening since time immemorial..
Colonization is embedded in cell memory, oozing out of my cultural pores..
Directing and choreographing Lalawigan-Tagalog Song Cycle in March 2009 by Florante Aguilar–performed by the virtuoso singer Kristine Sinajon, multi-talented Kyle De Ocera and the Philippine award-winning movie star Raymond Bagatsing– has allowed me to take a glimpse into this dark and painful history..to explore that nagging pain living with me for so long, it’s freaky to think how much it continues to deeply affect me today.. in this space time reality…ahhh.. how do we shed this burden, that really should no longer be part of us now? How do we make peace with such painful period of history… our people raped and pillaged..papano ba yan?
What I love about theater and art-making is that it allows me to simply look, and hopefully understand and accept that it was what it was..and that the only thing I can do is make peace with it..what i’ve found is that even at its meanest and most devastating aspects, my people, my ancestors made the best of it…that we will not be who we are now with out those experiences….oh was that from Oprah or another self help guru?
Directing Harana, the Cinematic Concert in Manila in February 2010–again by the amazing Florante Aguilar w/ film by Benito Bautista— showed me the beauty the resiliency of our people.. Philippine harana and the guitar, both western forms of music have been beautifully indigenized.. the way in which we re-shape, re-tool, re-form it into our own artistic/cultural voice….this is the essence of Pinoy spirit… for that matter the human spirit…. the true diwa is the process!
what’s unfortunate is we don’t credit or own up to the particularity of our creative process… we don’t honor our own ingenuity… we don’t honor ourselves.. instead we say it is ‘influenced by so-&-so’. The Japanese don’t say the ‘koto’ is influenced by the Chinese guzheng…. They own it…koto is Japanese, period…
.. isn’t it amazing that even though the Pilipino language is peppered with Spanish, Chinese, English words… the way we use it is sooo pinoy…check out my the dear friend’s poem, the fabulous hookeriski Joel Tan..
Siempre in Spanish means Surely
Siempre in Tagalog means Probably.
He asks me if I’m in love with him.
After 2 years of work, this past weekend, La Semilla Caminante ( The Walking Seed) my multi-disciplinary collaboration with the Xicana lesbian playwright Cherrie Moraga, visual & performance art installation artist Celia Herrera Rodriguez, Sean San Jose & Campo Santo/Intersection—was given a workshop production…the piece is an exploration of our colonized selves in the larger global context….a poignant look at the wreckage of colonization .. to hold ourselves responsible for healing the hurt we have been dragging around for centuries.. allowing us to forgive ourselves..and the knowledge that if we have the ability to carry the ancestral pain in our DNA
then we also have the ability to carry our saving grace—our glorious indigenous ways..our ancestral memory.. we can remember our sacred indigenous rituals our ceremonies..we can remember our connection with each other spanning many centuries when Pilipino sailors of the galleon trade jumped ship and lived as native people in the Americas.. we can remember our way of seeing beyond this physical world… we still remember our language…our myths.. our language embodied in our sacred and secular dances..we remember our songs, our epic chants….we remember..we re-member… we remember!
poster design-Tina Besa; beach photo-Dianne Que