To the Person Sitting in Darkness
digital painting on fabric, graphite on manila paper, hemp staff, ink, acrylic paint, hemp cord, wood, and found objects
6-1/4” x 5” x 8”
Titled after Mark Twain’s anti-imperialist essay from 1901, this assemblage piece addresses the theme of migrants as products of empire—just as much as tobacco and abaca (hemp).
The painting depicts a Filipino baby that was tied to a post in the Coney Island Filipino Exhibition in 1906. The image is painted over Twain’s text. Migration stories are written in Tagalog on strips of manila paper (originally also made from abaca in Manila). The Eurasian Tree Sparrow is sculpted out of hemp staff (the same material that was used to construct the buildings of the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904) and painted with indigenous tribal patterns and baybayin (a pre-colonial Filipino script). This species is endemic to the Philippines, but their range in North America is limited to the St. Louis region. In 1870, German settlers brought twenty sparrows to St. Louis to remind them of their home country. The population took hold only in the area where I live now.
Collection: Artifacts of Empire
Alamat - Kasmala, 2021