Maia Cruz Palileo. Photo by Ligaiya Romero.

CCA Wattis Institute presents new work by Maia Cruz Palileo

In Long Kwento, September 14–December 4, Maia Cruz Palileo presents a new exhibition of paintings and sculptures inspired by historic Filipiniana materials and the artist’s own memories.

Maia Cruz Palileo, Wind, Water, Stone, 2020. Oil on canvas, 48 x 124 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Maia Cruz Palileo, Wind, Water, Stone, 2020. Oil on canvas, 48 x 124 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

San Francisco, CA—Wednesday, July 14, 2021—CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts announces Maia Cruz Palileo: Long Kwento, a solo exhibition featuring new paintings and sculptures from multi-disciplinary, Brooklyn-based artist Maia Cruz Palileo. Curated by Kim Nguyen, the exhibition (September 14–December 4, 2021) features work inspired by historic Filipiniana stories, portraits, and images, fused with Palileo’s memories and family stories.

Influenced by the oral history of a 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. Infusing narratives with both memory and imagination, Palileo translates diverse materials into a novel formal language to describe a new world of the artist's own making.

This exhibition of new paintings and sculptures stems from research Palileo conducted at the Newberry Library in Chicago, which has one of the largest collections of Filipiniana in the world (comprising the collections of Edward E. Ayer, an American who assembled a vast trove of Phillippine 17th and 18th-century manuscripts upon US victory over the Spanish at Manila Bay in 1898; and the photographic archive of Dean C. Worcester, an influential and controversial figure in the early years of American presence in the Philippines). These varied documents, spanning centuries and cultures, offered a kaleidoscopic vision of the Philippines as seen through numerous eyes, and recalled by Westerners.

Maia Cruz Palileo, "Flashing Like Twin Gems of a Pendant," 2020. Oil on canvas, 68 x 54 inches

Maia Cruz Palileo, Flashing Like Twin Gems of a Pendant," 2020. Oil on canvas, 68 x 54 inches.

Palileo recontextualizes these stories, portraits, and images in an attempt to resuscitate these figures from the exploitative gaze of these ethnographic images. Inspired by Damián Domingo, Palileo’s expressive, gestural paintings imbue a sense of humanity and dignity to the subjects. Palileo integrates historical narratives from the colonial past of the Philippines with stories and memories of life as a Filipinx American growing up in the United States, producing paintings that possess dream-like qualities that hover between fact and fiction. 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.

Following the close of the exhibition at the Wattis Institute in December, Maia Cruz Palileo: Long Kwento will travel to Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah, and will be on view beginning January 14, 2022.

Maia Cruz Palileo: Long Kwento is curated by Kim Nguyen and organized by Diego Villalobos.

The exhibition is made possible thanks to generous support from Pamela and David Hornik. Special thanks to Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. The CCA Wattis Institute program is generously supported by San Francisco Grants for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Wattis Leadership Circle contributors the Westridge Foundation, Lauren & James Ford, Jonathan Gans & Abigail Turin, Steven Volpe, and Mary & Harold Zlot; and by CCA Wattis Institute's Curator's Forum. Additional support provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation. Phyllis C. Wattis was the generous founding patron.

About Maia Cruz Palileo

Maia Cruz Palileo (b. 1979, Chicago, Illinois) received an MFA in sculpture from Brooklyn College, City University of New York and a BA in studio art at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts. Palileo has participated in residencies at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York (2017); Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (2015); Lower East Side Print Shop, New York (2015); Millay Colony, New York (2015), and the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans (2015). Palileo has received a Nancy Graves Grant (2020), Art Matters Grant (2019), Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2018), Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Program Grant (2017), Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2014), NYFA Painting Fellowship (2015), Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Award (2008), and the Astraea Visual Arts Fund Award (2009). Recent solo exhibitions include The Way Back, Taymour Grahne, London; Meandering Curves of a Creek, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn; and Maia Cruz Palileo at Katzen Museum, American University, Washington, D.C. Palileo teaches at Parsons School of Design in New York. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn.