Caroline Garcia: Queen of the Carabao
PostColonial Survival Kit featured artist, Filipino Australian interdisciplinary artist, Caroline Garcia, is exhibiting her piece entitled Queen of the Carabao—a video work that “explores the idea of homecoming and cultural memory
through the aesthetics of absence, loss, and melancholy associated with
notions of cultural displacement and ambiguity. This work encapsulates the
fragmentation of intergenerational histories and conflates three narratives that
traverse sentiments of nostalgia, longing, and resilience through slow cinema,
performance and text.”
The audio is comprised of field recordings from the province itself
and was composed by San Francisco Bay Area based musician Joshua Icban.
Filmed on Garcia’s father’s ancestral lands in Pampanga, Philippines, Queen of the Carabao was made with the support from CreateNSW Rapid Response Grant (Australia).
Queen of the Carabao approaches post-colonialism through a diasporic lens,
depicting the ways in which Filipino identity continues to survive and is passed
down through generations. This video work does not offer a solution to
histories of colonial trauma but rather it corroborates these narratives through
nostalgia, melancholia and resilience.
This work is a complicated process of unlearning and learning identity. The
implications of non-belonging and displacement are evident in the image of
my body inserted into the Kapampangan landscape, in front of Mount Arayat.
My father was with me on location as translator and production assistant, and
waited in the bahay kubo on his iPad until I finished filming. I hadn’t visited his
province since I was six years old, and this distancing resurrected a familiar
Filipino aesthetic, one that is dated and trapped in colonial times, conflating
the past and the present.
The duration and tempo of this work is inspired by Lav Diaz, an iconic Filipino
filmmaker and a key member of the slow cinema movement. My feminist
approach to this type of imagery lends itself to speak to a longing and a
yearning for the Philippines that has been fragmented over generations, and
also to a matriarchal loss that I have experienced. In the attempt to reconcile
a cultural identity, I ride a carabao, moving away from the horizon, although never