Wilfred Galila's Way of Journey and Process Towards the Integration of Self
PostColonial Survival Kit featured, San Francisco Bay Area based multidisciplinary artist, Wilfred Galila, is exhibiting his work entitled Ang Paagi sang Panglakaton kag Pamaagi Pakadto sa Pakiguli sang Kaugalingon (The Way of Journey and Process Towards the Integration of Self)—a multimedia installation that is “an exploration of an ongoing journey of decolonization and survival in a postcolonial world and the process of piecing together fragments of a Filipino identity illustrated and conveyed through sculpture, assemblage, and cinema.”
The multimedia art installation “is made up of various materials that are repurposed and reimagined into three pillars of postcolonial iconography in triangular arrangement, showing the effects of colonial mentality and layers of identity and ways that we endlessly circumnavigate but ultimately need to reassess and integrate, representing the three major island groups comprising the Philippines with a shared postcolonial experience that is as varied as it is similar.”
Behind the sculptural installation is a wall size video projection that includes choreography and performance by dance artist Jonathan Mercado conveying “the process of reclaiming and awakening an integrated postcolonial self through symbolism and dance.”
Born and raised in Iloilo City, Philippines, Galila describes his work as a journey through “a deconstructed bangka (boat) with the three pillars as the structure and video projection as a sail unfurled that functions as a vessel for the mind and spirit, where self ultimately resides, to ride and go far with this ongoing and highly personal yet universal process of self integration within the struggle and survival against repressive ideology and systematic oppression towards the goal of a unified identity free of colonial mentality.”
I am a colonized immigrant indigenous to the Philippines who aims for a deeper understanding of the shared legacy of a colonial past and the overt and subtle ways it continues to affect my life and of those in the Philippines and the diaspora.
My work is an exploration of the layers of a postcolonial identity and colonial mentality, inherited by way of history and the machinations of the neocolonial enterprise through the American educational system that I was subjected to and my subsequent indoctrination to western culture, through movies, music, literature, and all kinds of products, and how this has informed and influenced my sense of identity and my life as a postcolonial individual as well as an exploration of an ongoing process of realigning and piecing together a postcolonial identity by reclaiming and combining parts of a fragmented self with indigeneity that lies within into a unified identity free of colonial mentality.
Hybridity is a fundamental feature of postcolonial identity. Hybridity is where our strength and resilience comes from and our means of survival. To assimilate is to disappear into a colonial culture and system—a system that was created not to welcome its colonial subjects but in order for its subjects to serve it. Our power lies in our various ways of being and to embrace our hybridity. By reconciling our postcolonial with our indigenous selves, we go beyond mere survival towards a healing process and the realization of our utmost potential that lies dormant within all of us.