Thursday, October 26, 2006

'I Am Today's Filipino' - A Photo/Video Exhibit

Exhibit Featuring Present-Day Filipinos Set to Premiere

'I Am Today's Filipino' Closes LA Fil-Am Centennial Celebration

'I Am Today’s Filipino,' a first of its kind photo/video exhibit that celebrates and documents the numerous stories of one hundred, present-day Filipino-Americans from various walks of life, is set to make its much-anticipated premiere on October 28 and 29 at the Farmani Gallery in Beverly Hills.

The exhibit marks the culminating event in the year-long calendar of the LA/Southern California Filipino American Centennial Commemoration Committee.

"The exhibit depicts the current make up and structure of today’s Filipino-American," artist Celina Taganas-Duffy said in a press conference Wednesday.

'I Am Today’s Filipino' came into fruition with the partnership of Taganas-Duffy and fellow artist Ray Carbullido, who shot and edited the video.

This photo/video exhibit recognizes and preserves the stories of individuals from all walks of life with diverse occupations, age groups. Educational backgrounds, and geographical areas within Southern California - home to over a million residents of Filipino descent – who remain connected through a shared heritage and a common set of values and traditions.

"This exhibit would show to us and our friends what Filipinos have achieved through the years and because of exhibits such as this, we make sure that our heritage is well-known in this part of the country," Acting Head of Post Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon said.

'I Am Today’s Filipino' would provide an intimate glimpse into the individual lives and experiences that reflect the collective story of the modern Filipino community in Southern California.

The exhibit likewise preserves a moment in the current history of Filipinos in the United States and encourages a greater awareness of the many contributions that Filipinos have made and continue to make to American life.

"Our selection of 100 people is not a who's who in the community. We covered a wide range of people and I realized that this was a true testament of six degrees of separation," Ray Carbullido, producer and director of the video exhibit.

"This is such an inspiring project that I hope would inspire the people who are going to see it," the Honolulu-based Carbullido said.

For her part, Taganas-Duffy said that they wanted to create a "cultural archive" that would "portray Filipinos positively" and "inspire the Filipino youth." She also thanked the Filipinos "who paved the way for all of us to be here today."

A special VIP reception takes place next Saturday, October 28 from 6 to 9 pm at the Farmani Galley, one of the leading galleries of contemporary photography in Los Angeles.

The artists plan on a traveling exhibit of the works through January 2007.

Some of the subjects photographed for the exhibit attended the press conference at the Philippine Consulate. Among them Cecilia Ramos, Burlington School Administrator and President of Interim Board of the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council; world renowned saxophonist Michael Paulo; Commissioner for the Commission on Disability Theresa de Vera; Johnny Chua, President of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce in San Gabriel Valley and Alexander Bautista, senior lead officer of the LAPD.

"I am so proud to be a part of this project. They worked very hard for this. I was not able to resist them, that’s why I'm here," said Ramos.

Saxophonist Michael Paulo, described as one of the most versatile and cosmopolitan saxophonists in pop, soul and contemporary jazz and erstwhile member of the pop/rock band Kalapana, drove for more than three hours to attend the press launch.

"I immediately said yes to them, not knowing what it was about. I was compelled. I drove from Temecula to Celina's studio because time was already running out and I was one of the last subjects to be photographed," he shared.

'I Am Today's Filipino' is the culminating event of the Los Angeles/Southern California Filipino American Centennial Planning Committee, working in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American Program. The project is supported by ABS-CBN/The Filipino Channel, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo bank and Southern California Edison. (AJ)

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