MORE THAN LUMPIA: Magdalena Arguelles Positively No Filipinos Allowed (2023)

Magdalena Arguelles
Positively No Filipinos Allowed (2023)
Mixed media on screen door
58 x 26





Artist Statement

“Positively No Filipinos Allowed is part of the Dirty Knees Series. This sign saying Positively No Filipinos Allowed was on the doors of an establishment that did not want to cater to Filipinos in Stockton, CA in the 1930’s. The Manongs (older brothers) who were the early Filipino immigrants in the 1920’s and 1930’s were mostly single men who worked as farm laborers. They faced racial discrimination and exploitation within the workplace as well as in their daily lives. My family arrived in North America much later in the late 1960’s. As a child in the Toronto public school system, an educator gently told me that I needed to clean my knees. So, I did scrub my knees thoroughly that day after school. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that it wasn’t that my knees were dirty but that my skin was brown. This piece explores the difficulties of assimilating into a new culture in a new country as well as living with the reality that acceptance of one’s own culture of origin into mainstream culture is a process that takes patience and perseverance.”

About Magdalena Arguelles

Magdalena Arguelles was born in Iloilo City, Philippines and initially immigrated with her family to Canada, then to the United States in the late 1960s. After finishing pharmacy school, she studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as printmaking at Santa Reparata School of Art in Florence, Italy, Evanston Art Center in Evanston, and recently at Art Print Residence, Arenys de Munt, Spain. Her paintings explore her memories of her childhood in Iloilo, City and how it shaped her as she assimilated into a new culture. These memories and impressions are incorporated within the context of the still life and the landscape. Visual impressions she has encountered throughout her travels and moments of daily life can also be seen throughout her work. She paints with water-based mediums, incorporating collage and printmaking techniques to create the images within her paintings. Most recently, her focus has been creating collages using paper waste to create images.

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