October 19 – November 19, 2023
In honor of Filipinx-American History Month, we reflect, honor and embody the core value of “KAPWA” stemming from the Filipinx–American and Filipinx Community. “KAPWA” (Tagalog) translates to “kindred”, “neighbor”, and “fellow humans.” To live in the spirit of Kapwa means to embrace our shared identity and to care for our fellow beings.
The term is used when addressing another with the intention of establishing a connection. It reflects a viewpoint that beholds the essential humanity recognizable in everyone, therefore linking (including) people rather than separating (excluding) them from each other.
“Kapwa: The Self in Other”, features 13
Filipinx/Mestisx Visual Artists whom all have roots in Jacksonville, FL. visually portraying what Kapwa means to them, how it applies to their lives and how it can inspire yours.
Cari–Dawn Conejero Campbell
Artist Work & Bios
Egay: Salamat Mama
Mixed Media Installation
“Egay: Salamat Mama!” depicts my Mother, her familiar nickname “Egay”, originated from Baccoor, Cavite. Paying homage to the motherland and all the women who have come before me. The Duster is the iconic and unofficial dress of working women/mothers in the Philippines. Colorful and free flowing, this particular duster is one that my mom wore for all occasions to cook, clean, wash clothes, and celebrate the coming of the new year. She has had this since 1987. The big circle design is said to bring prosperity. “Egay” represents my mom, “dating tindera” who used to be a vendor, who sold fruits and vegetables in the marketplace, where she would buy from “Divisoria” and go to “Zapote” to sell her wares. The oranges on the “bilao” which is to hold food and as she walks around from house to house selling fruits, dried fish, eggs and salt. She wore “bakya”, traditional wooden shoes, which are replicas since she lost them in a flood. She holds a woven fan “pamaypay” and a basket with her food. The red “banig bag” coin purse is something she has always wanted from
Antipolo when she would go to church but her mom couldn’t afford it in the 70s. Then in 2019, she went back to the Philippines at Lucban, Quezon Province where she finally found it and was able to buy it. Presently, she is giving back as a philanthropist, LovelyZendy Chavez, Queen of Hearts in America, who demonstrates the spirit of kapwa, sharing our blessings. She has sent almost 300 BalikBayan Boxes through LBC all over the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with the help of her sponsors and donors who have donated clothes, supplies, shoes, medicine for the elderly and children and money for feeding programs, and selling pancit and lumpia.
Egay: Salamat Mama demonstrates the spirit of kapwa, and how we can be empowered to share our blessings with our kapwa. As we look back to where we came from and never forget our roots, our family, and inspire the future generations to continue the spirit of kapwa. I’m grateful that my mom has taught me the spirit of sharing our blessings with humble beginnings and I hope you can feel that too. This piece helped me to heal and understand my mother, where she came from and the sacrifices my Grandma “Mama” Puring Chavez has made to where I am today. Salamat means to give thanks and I want to thank my family and ancestors by honoring them and their teachings of Kapwa.
To Me Kapwa Means ” feeling the humanity within us all, this deeper inner love for thy neighbor being reflected in our community. When I see you, I see my family and friends, no one is a stranger or foe.
Haidy Andrada is a multidisciplinary artist, who finds stories to tell an innate part of her being. Born in Yokosuka Japan and based in Jacksonville Florida, Haidy loves to travel and collects pieces to curate a story inspired by her Filipino-American upbringing that is her life.
Para Sa Lahat
1-page of Para Sa Lahat for $25/page
We all desire to be seen and heard even if it’s in the form of a sign. “Para sa Lahat” in English means “for everyone”. This interactive piece welcomes the viewer to participate in a personal check-in. Each tear-off piece has words of affirmations written in Tagalog from “magtiwala ka” (have trust) to “kaya mo yan” (you can do it). Quiapo Font by Aaron Amar. These messages are for you. For us. For everyone.
TRANSLATION: (TAGALOG – ENGLISH / LEFT TO RIGHT)
WALANG FOREVER – THERE’S NO FOREVER
Jenn Ban (she/they) is a Queer Filipinx-American Multidisciplinary Artist, Usui Reiki Master, community/cultural organizer, and teaching artist. Jenn Ban (she/they) aka Jeanelle Bantigue is a second-generation Filipino-American currently living and working in San Francisco, CA. They received her BS in Psychology from UNF in 2014 and shortly after traveled to live in California, Philippines, and other parts of the world. Their exploration to reclaim their Filipino cultural identity mixed with their fire to heal and grow passed limited beliefs has brought them to create their own world as an artist, healer, and community organizer.
Currently, they are the owner of Jenn Ban Studio LLC. and offer various services as a Usui Reiki Master including Reiki sessions, meditations, workshops, and Sacred Skin Adornments (Reiki infused tattoos), Coorganizer focused on reindigenizing communities through art and culture with Baranggay Oakland, and a Resident Artist at Balay Kreative. Their on-going efforts in various community and cultural spaces has allowed them to continue their life-work of weaving arts, culture, and healing.
IG: @jenn.ban + @sacredskinadornments
24 X 36″
Despite its name, a “Boodle Fight” brings together family & friends in expression of love. Captured at Purple Roots.
To me, Kapwa means the invisible force that binds us as a people. That could be family, friendship, patriotism, community, culture, food, etc.
Specializing in 360° photography & drone footage, CJ’s mission is to capture moments, feelings and emotions through his work.
30 x 40”
Mixed Media – Digital Photo Collage w/ Nylon Thread Embroidery, Raffia &
White Coconut Reed Weaving
Within this piece is shifting photographic timelines interwoven in the now, inspired by woven bangs flowing with indigenous symbols from the Philippines. The resurfacing aura consists of the symbols of the centipede & water, flowing around her with multicolor embroidery interwoven within raffia and white coconut reeds. The Resurfacing Series is a divine reflection of myself and kapwa, a rebirth, an invitation to uproot, resurrect & rise again to the surface. I am unraveling to re-member all of the ancestral visions passed to me through nature, meditation & dreams. Through my visions, I see the divine patterns flowing through time & recognize how we are all divinely interconnected in this lifetime. I see the divinity of spirits & the universe.
To me, Kapwa means seeing yourself in another, a shared reflection & identity -oneness.
Gigi Bio is a creative shapeshifter. She was born in Ohlone Territory (Oakland, CA) & lives in Lenape Territory (Brooklyn, NY) with ancestral roots from Mindanao & Bicol, Philippines. A multidisciplinary artist, fashion & surface designer, photographer, healer and culture bearer. She holds a BFA in Fashion from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, and AA in Fine Art from Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe & published in “Newbrow: 50 Contemporary Artists”, “Street or Studio: A Photobook”, “Click!”,
Hycide Magazine, LAKAS Zine & Filipino American Artist Directory. In 2016, she was part of the original cast of “Raised Pinay”, a play based on the real life narratives of intergenerational Filipino-American Women. In 2019, she explored weaving & movement as a new form of art & healing with Walang Hiya NYC, a collective exploring and healing shame through divine creation. Today, she continues to evolve into new mediums & expanding into textiles, beadwork and weaving inspired by her indigenous Philippine roots. Currently, she is working with the community as Curriculum Development Director in Fashion Design for Pinaysphere, a nonprofit arts organization for the next generation of creative Pina/xy youth.
IG: 6161810 / FB: GIGI BIO
Grace Bio is a 1st Generation Filipina American Multi-Disciplinary Artist of Bicolano and Visayan descent hailing from the Tiumcuan Territory. She uses her gifts to bring awareness to the world of the beauty we have within us while paying tribute to what came before us. She exhibited her work & performed throughout the East Coast and San Francisco, CA., been a guest artist for numerous events and programs and was previously an Art Director for an education company in Jacksonville, FL. – a nationally accredited, artistically centered K-12 S.T.E.A.M curriculum, with her illustrations & graphic designs in use in 48 programs nationwide.
Her artwork was featured in the exhibit “I am The Dream My Ancestors Dreamed Would Free Them (A Conversation About Decolonization and Remembering Ancestors through the Arts)” at Queens Museum (NYC); “SAMASAMA: Art Show & Gathering” (An exhibition honoring Asian American
and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Washington, D.C); “Raised Pinay” (an all Filipina casted play in NYC – 1st GENERATION); LAKAS Zine (NYC); The Filipino American Artist Directory / 2018 Edition (St. Louis, MO); “WOMEN TO THE FRONT | Volume III:” An immersive experience of Music, Art, Video and Performance to celebrate and showcase women in the Art World at Superchief Gallery (NYC); one of the International Visual Artists for “The Divine Coloring Book” – A Multi-Cultural 90+ page coloring book for people of all ages featuring the Folklore and Spirituality of the Philippines, Haiti and Brazil and most recently, painted the 1st Public Art dedicated to Filipinx-Americans in the history of Jacksonville, FL.
Currently, she is part of The 8X10 COLLECTIVE: A group consisting of The Bio siblings (Leo & Gigi Bio) collaborating on projects & exhibitions internationally; an active contributor to the global AAPI, Art & Music community; a Board member of Jax Filipinos; has her own company, “HER PATH COLLECTION” (A Pop-Up Boutique featuring curated global handmade & vintage treasures); and is an active Freelance Illustrator, Painter, Graphic Designer, Muralist, Live Artist and Curator.
24 x 24
Organized by the American Colonial Government pre WW2, the Manila Carnival was a display of decadence celebrating good relations and economic progress of the Philippines. The coronation of the Carnival Queen became the highlight of the festivities, catapulting beautiful, young women into fame and renown unseen since the time of tribal monarchies which accorded women enormous power within their clans. “Urduja Whispers” imagines legendary Warrior-Queen Urduja imploring the newly crowned Queen of the Orient to hold tightly to her orb of intrinsic wisdom as she reigns beside Queen of the Occident, over what becomes the precursor to the modern obsession with pageantry and the wielding of beauty as an international commodity. “ To me, Kapwa is a lamp. Warm and simple like a candle, yet vast and sometimes distant like the moon. As Filipinos, we claim ‘kapwa’ as a virtue of our people, as if thru matrilineal inheritance we understand, better than most, this core value ‘pakikipagkapwa’ is sacred interconnection.
When the moon is full, our path is clear and manifest. We embrace our ka-puwang [shared space], our ka-babayan [countrymen], our ka-ibigan [friendship, union of love]. We bask in the light and embody empathy and kindness. In the spirit of kapwa, we live and love in abundance. We don masks and costumes to celebrate like we’ve never known oppression, loss, or pain… Kapwa is the unspoken comfort that we not only have each other, we ARE each other.
But as with all things subject to time, the light fades. The moon wanes. We forget to keep the flame. Colonialism introduced the grimness that comes with thinking in terms of ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’. Western individualism lured us into gaudy displays that seem to sparkle brighter than the enlightenment of our ancestral ideology. In the darkness of diaspora, we cling to boastfulness and chase crowns of superiority. We say kapwa is what makes Filipinos different at the depths of our collective psyche. And yet, we act as if the ocean around our humble archipelago draws the border to the extent we ought extend our wise solidarity.
But kapwa , like the moon, is never truly gone. And perhaps our intrinsic understanding of true kapwa has guided our international adaptability. It has softened our tongues to learn the languages of not just our oppressors, but every land in which we boldly adventure. Kapwa guides our amicable nature and the width of our world famous smiles. Kapwa makes us generous with who we give the respectful titles of Nanay/Tatay, Ate/Kuya, Kapatid… or Anak. [Mother/Father, Older Sister/Brother, Sibling, or my child]. Kapwa is more than morals and loyalty to those who speak our mother tongue. Kapwa is the harmony we should seek to share with all of humanity. “
Cari-Dawn is an award-winning designer and multidisciplinary artist who has made notable contributions in the Philippine Fashion, Film, and TV industries. She is cofounder of Tawong-Lipod Creative Studio, and the Filipino Footwear Designer Development Guild. With over a decade of experience in visual storytelling for international audiences, she has chosen her hometown Jacksonville as the stage for her next studio art adventures.
The Land’s Shapeshifter
30 x 24 x 4”
Through the visual juxtaposition of the self and spiritual animals, this piece reflects on the inner strength and resilience we all share underneath the skin.
To me, Kapwa means being in a quiet state of awareness where I am able to not just hear, but truly listen and understand others around me. It’s not always easy to sustain this awareness because I tend to get stuck in the noise of my own small world, so taking the time to come back to that state of being is always very grounding.
Camille Faustino is currently attending the University of North Florida. She works primarily with the mediums of paint and paper sculpture to explore themes of identity, culture, and human connection in her art.
30 x 24″
A native hand feeding the sun, represented by rice, into the center of the flag of the Philippines. The different types of mountain ranges in red and ocean water make up the blue color.
To me, Kapwa means belonging. As an immigrant child, I felt like an outsider everywhere I went. But when my parents became involved in the Fil-Am community here, I felt the feeling of belonging that I craved. I hope to carry on that feeling to the next generation.
Angela began drawing in 2013, focusing on graphite portraits. She has recently branched out to acrylic, watercolors, oils and ink medium to capture the human form and landscapes.
O Papanok Ako Bo – If I Were a Bird
24” x 24”
Fairy tales are some of the most well travelled forms of literature, flowing from East to West and back so that they have become truly global. In the Philippine Islands, there is a well known series of fairytales called Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang (Tales of Grandmother Basyang) series by Severino Reyes. I imagine this female protagonist as the tribe babaylan (wise woman and mage) who held all the stories of the tribe and an expert in religion, history, medicine, and other sciences and arts. That she, herself, has caught the Sarimanok – bestowing good fortune on all who cross her path with the gift she’s been given. Folk tales, mythologies and legends provide rootedness to our geographical spaces, not only in terms of physical landscape but in the metaphysical sense as well. The meta narratives and metaphysics that are passed on connect generations, ensuring the survival of values and national characteristics. Archetypal experiences that are embedded in a nation’s literature may also be the foundation of stories from other nations. The transcultural characteristics of archetypes underscore this connectedness. To me, this is Kapwa – to live in the spirit of Kapwa means to embrace our shared identity and to care for our fellow beings.
Elena Øhlander (b. 1988) is a visual artist and muralist working in the medium of mixed-media illustration, currently residing in Jacksonville, Florida. She obtained her BFA in Photography from The Art Institute of Jacksonville in 2014. Her work explores identity, individuality, gender issues, societal gaze, and social justice. She utilizes a contrived scenario, characterization of her own likeness, intentional use of semiotics, and the psychology of color to build her vernacular. Her emphasis of hyphenated American identity is used as a comparative lens that focuses on Asian diaspora awareness and unification to society at large – investigating issues surrounding cultural preservation and historical memory.
To be fed, is to be loved.
“Kaon na” is Bisaya for “Eat now,”–not so much an order but rather an invitation to eat. In a Filipino household you could hear that repeated multiple times a day. It can serve as a reminder, a greeting, a gesture of love or comfort, and/or a sentiment of pride and gratitude that there IS food available to share with your loved ones.
To me Kapwa means providing and hosting for your family and friends. It is setting the table and filling plates for the people in your life despite generational or cultural differences. It is expressing a genuine love and care for people, and an expression of the love and care you are capable of, through intentional and unconditional gesture.
Jill Responte is a Filipino-American multi-media artist. Since graduating from the University of North Florida with a degree in graphic design and digital media, she has worked at an advertising agency focused on social impact as an art director. Between graphic design, photography, video, and now painting, Jill’s work is motivated by the beauty in human connection and relationships, storytelling, and the exploration of selfexpression.
18 x 24
This is the story of the Three Sisters from Filipino mythology who were three beautiful and powerful celestial deities associated with the stars. Hanan is the goddess of the morning, Tala is the goddess of the stars, and Mayari is the goddess of the moon. Their stories encourage individuals to greet each day with hope, find balance and serenity, and face life’s challenges with strength and courage.
To me, Kapwa means community. It is the living and the working together of everyone towards a common goal — a better tomorrow. Kapwa is bigger than any one individual. Appreciating and respecting where everyone is coming from is Kapwa. It is the shared experiences that we can all relate to despite having different backgrounds. Our stories, legends and mythologies reflect our nation’s values, and aspirations, which bear striking similarities to the stories found in other cultures around the world. Whether it’s tales of heroic journeys, mythical creatures, or epic battles between good and evil, these narratives transcend borders and languages, revealing the universal themes that bind humanity together. Through the exploration of these shared motifs and legends, people from different backgrounds can forge connections, recognizing that at the core of our diverse traditions lies a common thread of human experience, reminding us that storytelling is a timeless tool for unity and understanding. Our shared humanity is Kapwa.
Varick Rosete is a distinguished creative force with over 25 years of expertise in design, illustration and animation. His impressive portfolio spans from renowned enterpriselevel clients to cherished local mom-and-pop shops. Regardless of the scale, Varick’s unwavering commitment is to craft a truly exceptional design experience. His work resonates with a keen understanding of aesthetics, functionality, and the unique identity of each client, ensuring that every project he undertakes leaves a lasting impression. Currently, Varick is the Chief Design Officer at TigerLily, a creative and production studio, where he lends his profound artistic insight and visionary leadership, as well as co-owner with his wife, Emily Moody, of the Wolf & Cub boutique in Downtown Jacksonville, where his creative influence extends to curating unique, artisanal products, and additionally, he showcases his artistic versatility under Varick Rosete Studio, where he designs, illustrates and crafts. Varick is always looking to push the boundaries of creativity and design excellence transforming concepts into captivating visual narratives…and have a good time doing it.
18” x 24”
“Francisco” is a tribute to the enduring legacy of my beloved Lolo, a man whose life was a testament to the power of community, culture, and cuisine. In a place far from his homeland, my Lolo became a beacon of Filipino culture, co-founding groups that bridged the gap between the Filipino diaspora and their newfound home. However, it was through the act of cooking that he truly found his calling as a community builder. Lolo’s culinary prowess was renowned, and he held his treasured recipes close to his heart. These recipes weren’t just about flavors; they were his secret ingredients for binding people together– the ultimate expression of love and a profound expression of love and community.
To me Kapwa is interconnectedness and shared identity through an unwavering dedication to family, community, and utilizing one’s talents for good.
Dani is a Filipino-American illustrator and art director, based out of Jacksonville, Florida. With a love for visual storytelling, perspective, and the wonder embedded into everyday life, Dani’s work is a captivating journey into the realms of art and imagination. For the past 7 years, she has been passionately crafting work as conduit for positive change.
Dance of Light
36 x 48”
Acrylic On Canvas
Inspired by the Philippine flag, my piece depicts an Afro-Filipina dancing to the
Philippine folk song “Pandango Sa Ilaw”.
To me, Kapwa means a beautiful reminder of my shared identity as a half Black
and Filipino woman. It embodies the essence of recognizing the humanity that
connects us all, regardless of our backgrounds. As an artist on a journey to
embrace my Filipino roots, Kapwa inspires me to celebrate our common humanity,
forging connections that bridge cultures and enrich my creative expression. It’s a
profound invitation to explore, appreciate, and share with others without the
restrictions of colorism, racism, sexism or homophobia. Kapwa is to truly see
yourself or someone you love in every single person you encounter, and to treat
them as such.
Amber Williams, is a Jacksonville, Florida based multitalented artist whose work reflects the diverse tapestry of her heritage and life experiences. She was born in Pasadena California in the year 1986. With a Filipino mother and an African American father, Amber’s art draws inspiration from her rich cultural background. From an early age, Amber displayed a passion for creativity, and it was during her high school years that her artistic journey truly began. She honed her skills by sketching portraits of friends, discovering her innate talent for capturing the essence of individuals through her art. Life led her down various paths after graduating high school, where she explored different career opportunities. In 2009, Amber embraced motherhood, becoming the proud mother of a baby boy who would at the age of 3 be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her dedication to her son’s well-being remained unwavering, as she focused on making sure he received the appropriate therapeutic and educational support. Amber found ways to incorporate art into her and her son’s lives by drawing and creating different forms of art with him. Her son’s diagnosis would directly impact the course of her professional aspirations.
Amber embarked on a journey of personal growth and education I the subject of Applied Behavior Analysis. She became a Certified Registered Behavior Technician, demonstrating her commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of children on the autism spectrum. Even as a behavioral technician, Amber has used artistic expression as a tool to engage and teach the children new skills. She will often sing or draw the child’s favorite cartoon character for them as a reward for appropriate behavioral responses.
The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges with the global Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement brought on by the unnecessary deaths of countless members of the black community. During the shutdown, Amber found solace and inspiration in painting. This transformative period ignited her passion for art anew, and she began creating captivating portrait paintings that resonated with a growing audience. Amber’s talent and dedication to her craft did not go unnoticed. In 2023, she achieved a significant milestone by participating in her first art exhibition. Eight of her remarkable pieces were displayed, showcasing her unique ability to capture the emotions and stories behind her subjects.
Amber Williams continues to evolve as an artist, drawing from her multicultural heritage and life’s journey to create art that both celebrates diversity and touches the hearts of those who view it. Her work is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance, reminding us that art has the ability to inspire and connect us all.
30 x 40″
To me, Kapwa means sharing an unspoken bond through cultural similarities. To me it’s like having an inside joke that no one understands except you and that person. It’s the type of feeling you get when you feel seen and understood because somebody understands what you’re going through.
Arvie Witherspoon, born in Olongapo, Philippines, on April 9, 1989, and raised in Yokosuka, Japan, is an artist now residing in Jacksonville, Florida. Arvie’s creative journey has been profoundly shaped by these diverse cultural influences. Specializing in charcoal art and portrait photography, Arvie possesses the ability to capture the essence of a subject through a lens, then breathe life into it on paper using pen or charcoal. With this combination, Arvie hopes to create pieces that not only provide representation but also resonate a profound sense of emotion and realism.
IG: @arvie1703 + @arviewitherspoonart