Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts and VOCAS (Victor Oteyza Community Art Space) I was able to travel to the Philippines (my ancestral homeland) to complete a mentorship with Dr. Katrin de Guia. In the Philippines my mentorship led me to many inspiring culture bearers and healers through art including Dr. de Guia…inevitably allowing me to explore my primary goal of exploring Babaylan-Inspired Art and traditions. Along with my mentorship, Dr. de Guia encouraged me to participate as an artist resident at VOCAS where I was able to install 3 participatory/collaborative art works: Hwayu, Torontilippines and Kapwa Weaving.
The Babaylan* is a Filipino word that refers specifically to an individual or a group of healers, mostly women, who were acknowledged by friends and family as possessing extraordinary gifts… having a gift of vision; an ability to see through schemes or situations and later advise on future plans… or the gift for healing; a specific touch or intuited or passed-on knowledge to specific processes of ‘fixing’ and ‘putting’ people and things together. The first priority of all Babaylan [is] her community. -Carlos Villa
Dr. Katrin de Guia’s initial hospitality and kindness to my family during my mentorship was the beginning of the realization of Dr. de Guia’s own healing gifts. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to get to know and learn from such an amazing woman, mother, grandmother and artist.
“Katrin de Guia, PhD is the founder/President of HAPI. The founding of HAPI is one moment in 25 years continuity of cultural work that began in the early 80s when Kidlat Tahimik and Katrin de Guia opened up their Baguio residence to the community as an art-space and a temporary home for Filipino artists whose orientation, interests and creative style was rooted in indigenous Filipino Knowledge Systems and Practices.”
Thank you Canada Arts Council for your support and motivation to continue my exploration and art!
Special Thanks to the de Guia Family for your hospitality and continuous work as culture bearers of the Philippines. Let the dialogue and culture continue!