In May 2022, three artists were invited to the University of Michigan to engage with the University's vast collections from, and related to, the Philippines as part of the project ReConnect/ReCollect: Reparative Connections to Philippine Collections at the University of Michigan. During the two-week paid residency, artists explored themes of archives, material history, decolonial praxis and restitution, and Filipino, Filipinx, and/or Indigenous identity. A public roundtable wrapped up the residency. Watch a video of the roundtable here

A year later, one of the artists, Maia Cruz Palileo, has opened an installation inspired by their U-M residency: Days Later, Down River, at Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. 

UMMAA research collections manager Jim Moss traveled to Chicago with an artifact for the exhibit. The artifact is called a banig: a woven mat, made by an unknown artist, collected by First Sergeant Fred B. Morse and his wife, Marie M. Morse. Sergeant Morse was stationed with the 14th Cavalry on Mindanao from 1903 to 1905. The banig is the first object that greets visitors upon entering the gallery. According to the press release, the banig is “an object used as a place for daily rest and gathering. Surrounded by projections of tree canopies and hand-sculpted clay figures, their foraged memories and histories honor the Filipino heritage that endured during the colonial era.”  Read the entire press release here.

During the opening, Maia also celebrated their recent publication, Long Kwento, which was inspired by Maia’s oral family history and their recent research in various archives, including the University of Michigan.

The installation is on view through May 26, 2023. View more images of Maia’s art here. Read an interview with Maia here.


Image above:  

Days Later, Down River, 2023

Artist: Maia Cruz Palileo

Flashe and oil on canvas

84 x 108 in.


Image below:

Artist Maia Cruz Palileo and collection manager Jim Moss installing banig.