Pagbawi (“pag-ba-wi”) | Reclaiming
A Performance by Bhen Alan
Pagbawi, or “to reclaim something,” looks at Filipino labor and cultural exploitation in America. Specifically, this performance examines the Louisiana Purchase Centennial Exposition–the 1904 World’s Fair, also known as the human zoo, that displayed marginalized groups worldwide to emphasize the so-called superiority of Western society. One Indigenous group incorporated into the exposition was the Igorot Tribe from the Philippines, a group close to the artist’s kin. Their bodies, skin, rituals, art, clothing, eating, chants, community, and weaving practices were performed for the White gaze.
This will be a 7-10 minute movement performance at the gallery.
By dancing with the banig or a woven mat, Pagbawi attempts to reclaim these practices by denying the audience the ability to consume culture. Alan uses the banig as both prop and an extension of his body as a portal to home, ancestors, and memory. Through the shapeshifting ability of the mat and the artist’s movement, his body and cultural signifiers are present, but his memories, stories, and weaving are protected and ultimately reclaimed.
Bhen Alan is an artist included in the exhibition shape_shifting_