A series of three digital canvases, Motherland targets the conscience
and crossroads of Filipino-Americans who often remain distanced from
the roots of their motherland, the Philippines.
The images centralize Thelma Cartoneros, President of Sandigan
Samahang Magsasaka, who is working for the rights of agricultural workers in
Barrio Visayas and is also a mother, fighter, and community leader.
It is through the image of Thelma that one can come to understand the
dire circumstances for Filipinos, especially women and mothers, in the
Philippines. Students, professors, activists, and educators who attempt
to do community outreach in defiance of the violence and poverty are
kidnapped, tortured, killed, and disappeared. In a country where
divorce is illegal and reproductive health information is scarce, women
are shipped out into the global market as domestic workers, nannies,
maids, brides, sex workers, strippers, and entertainers. Among all the
exports of the Philippines, the most valued resource is sent elsewhere:
Hundreds of dialects are spoken, although English is often promoted
in the schools as a pathway to excellency. Union workers are harassed.
Land is promised and then stolen from farmers. Communities are
terrorized in the name of "homeland security" while the poor are left to
find their own way to survival.
"Fil-Ams, do you know what's up in the motherland?" is a wake-up call
to all Filipino-Americans who remain unaware of the drying soil around
the roots of our identity.