EX SITU Art Exhibit Celebrates Filipino Heritage Month

EX SITU is back – a landmark art exhibition returns to Peace Gallery North this week, celebrating all that it means to be from the Philippines.

EX SITU is back – a landmark art exhibition returns to Peace Gallery North this week, celebrating all that it means to be from the Philippines. From May 31 to June 8, the exhibition coincides with Filipino Heritage Month.

Artist Castrillo-Hill curates the exhibition, bringing his years of experience as a world-renowned sculptor and designer, with installations in Manila, Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Canada.

“For many Filipinos around the world, this is the most important month to celebrate being Filipino,” she said, noting that June 12 is Philippine Independence Day.

Ex Situ means thriving in a place that is not your natural habitat, a skill the Filipino community of Fort St. John has mastered, bringing their passion, hard work, honesty and artistry to northeast British Columbia.

“Traditionally, art isn’t something we’re known for, it’s an opportunity for the community to see us in a different way,” Castrillo-Hill said. “So that we are seen as a whole, not just as an industry or providers of certain things.”

“It’s also for the growing community of Filipinos who come to Fort St. John. We try to reach new members of the Filipino community and let them know that they have this opportunity to show other sides of themselves. It’s an opportunity to engage and have a sense of identity here,” she added.

The show was absent somewhat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Castrillo-Hill said, but ran in 2020, following its 2019 debut. She added that the art crosses both generations and mediums.

“Filipinos are very festive and it’s going to be very true to style, we’re going to have a bit of everything,” she said.

A documentary of the same name, EX SITU, is also being developed by Castrillo-Hill, offering insight into the lives and experiences of Filipinos living in the peace region.

“The endgame is the same, it’s about visibility and representation. Finding our place in the sun, and we just happen to be Filipinos in Canada, just living our best lives – being who we are and what we are, hoping that other people will appreciate us being here,” said she declared.

Peace Gallery North curator Jacqueline Benedetto said the exhibition was not to be missed.

“The show features a variety of artistic mediums and representations, as well as performers of all ages. Timed to coincide with Filipino Heritage Month, the opening reception will include a celebration of food, drink, art and community,” she said.

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.

Have a story or an opinion? Email Tom at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca

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