Long Kwento by Maia Cruz Palileo

Long Kwento by Maia Cruz Palileo

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With texts by Shirley Ancheta, Justin de Leon, Natalie Diaz, Joy Harjo, and Kim Nguyen

Influenced by the oral history of their family’s arrival to the United States from the Philippines, as well as the history between the two countries, Maia Cruz Palileo investigates larger questions pertaining to identity, history, migration, and concepts of time. Long Kwento stems from research Palileo initially conducted in 2017 at the Newberry Library in Chicago, one of the largest collections of Filipiniana in the Western world. In 2021, Palileo was invited to research the Philippine Collections at the University of Michigan as an artist in residence for the ReConnect/ReCollect project—a multidisciplinary, multigenerational group of faculty, librarians, archivists, curators, collections managers, and students working together to uncover how the objects that make up these collections were acquired, their colonial ties, and the academic systems of ordering these materials, while undertaking reparative work with the living community members from whose ancestors these objects were stolen.

Palileo recontextualizes these stories, portraits, and images in an attempt to resuscitate these figures from the exploitative gaze of these ethnographic images. This artist book integrates historical narratives from the colonial past of the Philippines with stories, images, and memories of Palileos life as a Filipinx American growing up in the United States. Combining Palileo’s extensive research with narratives of American Imperialism, beginning with the Filipino-American war, and the artist’s own understanding of a fractured and complex past, the work evokes nostalgia and romanticism while critiquing the ramifications of colonization, past and present.

Long Kwento is the latest chapter in Palileos ongoing, expansive project, which includes solo exhibitions presented at the American University Museum, Washington, DC (2018), Pioneer Works, New York (2018), The Wattis Institute at California College of the Arts, San Francisco (2021), and the Kimball Art Center, Park City (2022). An unfinished archive in and of itself, the book invites readers into Palileo’s process and the intimate relations that inform their research and work.

Maia Cruz Palileo is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Migration and the permeable concept of home are constant themes in their paintings, installations, sculptures, and drawings. Influenced by familial oral histories about migrating to the US from the Philippines alongside the troubling colonial history between the two countries, Palileo infuses these narratives using both memory and imagination. When stories and memories are subjected to time and constant retelling, the narratives become questionable, bordering the line between fact and fiction, while remaining cloaked in the convincingly familiar.