• Philippine Arts Council

Lipad na tinikling, bagong buhay sa ibang bansa

The Filipino in Me - Insights into Living Heritage

Entry by Adrielle Aquino. Edmonton, Alberta


Lipad na tinikling, bagong buhay sa ibang bansa

2022. Digital Illustration

Lipad na tinikling, bagong buhay sa ibang bansa

Artist's Statement

My illustration portrays the most important pieces of heritage I have carried over from the Philippines to Canada. The female figure on the left is Maganda and on the right is Malakas

from Filipino creation folklore. They are illustrated as such to pay homage to Filipino cubism art

of Vicente Mansala, having Magandas definition drawn with curves in contrast to Malakas rigid

and addition of more muscles. Maganda and Malakas are a counterpart to Adam and Eve,

although they were born from a single bird splitting a bamboo pole. The bird here is portrayed

by a Filipino immigrant doing the tinikling dance. A dance commonly known based on how the

tikling bird would walk which they say symbolizes freedom. A least common history for the

tinikling dance is that it was based on how Spaniards would create bamboo contraptions to trap

escaping Filipino prisoners. The tinikling dance then represents a duality of freedom and

imprisonment. What better way to portray this than a Filipino nurse dancing, in their expression

of their struggle physically, emotionally, and mentally. Freedom can be found immigrating to

Canada with all the opportunities it provides but you are trapped by your responsibilities to why

you are in this country – like a nurse supporting your family here or in the Philippines, or a child

of immigrant parents which have expectations of success found in STEM, etc. This is why

Maganda and Malakas are towering over and emanating the feeling of pressure, they also act

as this primordial parent to every Filipino, the dancing figure looks up with the expression on

their face asking, “Am I making you proud in this new country I found myself in?”. Additionally,

the figure has feathers on his wing like hair. This was intentional as they are close to the sun,

the figure acts as Icarus, asking the question every Filipino immigrant has in their head, “Does

immigrating here mean success or will I fall here like Icarus and struggle even more?”. Finally,

the background of three figures are a cold hue of green as a symbol for Canada, what looks like

the moon is actually the sun with the three stars shooting off to the distance, the sun here is the

Philippines itself and the minor stars shooting represent the people of Luzon, Vizayas, and

Mindanao immigrating to different parts of Canada.

What I have illustrated here does not ignore the fundamental pressure it takes to even

express being Filipino in Canada. To be a living heritage one must expect to go against the

expectations, responsibilities, and identity we seek to find. My living heritage is to symbolically

do the tinikling dance as long as I am a Filipino immigrant hoping to make my ancestors, my people, my family, and myself proud.


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