The presence of Filipinos as corporeal and discursive subjects within both America and Asian America has long been contested. On one hand, the dynamic juridical status of Filipinos in America has ranged from American colonial subjects and American nationals to naturalized and native-born citizens. On the other hand, the presence of Filipinos in America has provided labor in key industries from agriculture to nursing. Filipino America has always been a transnational social formation whose history, economy, and culture reflect the interrelated histories of the Philippines and the United States. This essay explores Filipino American aesthetic practices that engage with the corporeal and discursive production of the “Filipino” in both America and Filipino America. The essay investigates the implications of Filipino American visual art and artists “returning” to the Philippines and argues that a cultural logic of “fictions of return” forms a central part of the production of Filipino America as a transnational sociospatial formation. The first section discusses the production of Filipino America in the context of America's exhibitionary complex. The article proceeds to trace exhibitionary practices in the transnational art project Galleon Trade Arts Exchange. The article then discusses works by Christine Wong Yap, Stephanie Syjuco, Reanne Estrada, and Gina Osterloh to highlight how Filipino American visual art has critically engaged with the multiple contradictions within Filipino and Filipino American experiences. The article ends with a rumination on the relationship between cultural production and desire to return and belong.
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Eric Estuar Reyes; Fictions of Return in Filipino America. Social Text 1 June 2011; 29 (2 (107)): 99–117. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-1259497
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