How do you clap
back / against / toward
The Philippines is the fourth largest Christian country in the world.
Almost 90% of the population is Roman Catholic.
Most of us grew up next to da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting. Filipino, Filipino American houses rotated around this small sun of a painting. Our meals covered in cellophane breath beneath.
The painting was how you knew you were you.
The house you were in was safe and yours to begin with.
The Philippines has a food scarcity exacerbated by the combined effects of man-made and natural disasters that include earthquakes, typhoons and armed conflict. It ranked third out of 171 countries on the 2017 World Risk Index.
When you meet a Filipina, she will ask, “Are you hungry?”
I’m hungry right now.
The fixin's at da Vinci's table are scant. Cups of wine, a scattering of bread rolls, two plates of sliced meatloaf....
Here are 13 different Filipino-Am artists and writers throwing down with the Last Supper painting. We are altar boys, sunday school teachers, former evangelists. We were raised Roman Catholic, Baptist, Church of Christ, Opus Dei.
We gathered together one evening. We were hungry together and we decided we would make something of it.
Here are our Last Supper(s).
Photo Credit: Margarita Corporan
Marissa Aroy has worked in all aspects of documentary production for the last 11 years. She received an Emmy for the documentary “Sikhs in America,” which she produced and directed. Last year, Aroy was awarded a Fulbright to film a narrative in the Philippines. She is currently producing, directing and editing a PBS program on Filipino American history. In 2008, Aroy directed the educational soap opera series “Grand Cafe.” She produced and directed “Little Manila,” for PBS and produced “Sounds of Hope” shown on Frontline World. She was named, “One of the Most Influential Filipina Women in the US” by the Filipina Women’s Network.
Hossannah Asuncion grew up near the 710 and 105 freeways in Los Angeles. She currently lives near an A/C line in Brooklyn. She writes and teaches in New York.
J. Mae Barizo is the author of The Cumulus Effect (Four Way Books, 2015). A prize-winning poet, critic, and performer, recent work appears in AGNI, Bookforum, Boston Review, Hyperallergic, and Los Angeles Review of Books. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from Bennington College, the New School, the Jerome Foundation, and Poets House. Recent collaborative work includes projects with artists such as Salman Rushdie, Mark Morris, and the American String Quartet. She lives in New York City.
Nancy Bulalacao creates and curates cultural public programs.
Born in the Philippines and currently residing in Brooklyn, Francis Estrada is a visual artist, museum educator at the Museum of Modern Art, and freelance educator of Filipino art and culture. Francis has a fine arts degree in painting and drawing from San Jose State University, and he has taught in a variety of studio, classroom, and museum settings to diverse audiences, including programs for adults with disabilities, cultural institutions, and after-school programs. He was also an administrator and educator at the Museum for African Art, where he enjoyed teaching about the amalgamation of art and culture through objects. Francis exhibits his work nationally, including online publications. His work focuses on culture, history, and perception.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Noelle de la Paz now assembles words, art, and food in her magic lab in Queens. Much of her work explores girlness, brownness, languaging, and movements across borders, real and imagined.
Sarah Gambito is the author of the poetry collections Delivered (Persea Books) and Matadora (Alice James Books). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, POETRY, Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, The New Republic and other journals. She is co-founder of Kundiman, a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation and cultivation of Asian American literature.
Roberto Jamora is a Brooklyn-based artist. He is working on two series of abstract paintings: one that investigates how color triggers memory and another that deals with systems in sports. He holds a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA in Visual Arts from Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY). He was an Emerging Artist-Teacher Fellow at Joan Mitchell Foundation and also taught at Purchase College, SUNY. In Fall 2017, he was an Artist-in-Residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Previously, he has participated in artist residencies at Ragdale and Sambalikhaan. His work has been exhibited at Scott Charmin Gallery, Fouladi Projects, The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Open Space, Outlet Fine Art, ArtHelix, and Shockoe Artspace. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit robertojamora.com.
Joseph O. Legaspi, a Fulbright and NYFA fellow, is the author of the poetry collections Threshold and Imago, both from CavanKerry Press; and two chapbooks, Aviary, Bestiary (Organic Weapon Arts), and Subways (Thrush Press). His works have appeared in POETRY, New England Review, Best of the Net, Orion, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. He co-founded Kundiman (www.kundiman.org), a nonprofit organization serving Asian American literature. He lives in Queens, New York.
As a child, Nita Noveno dreamed of becoming a veterinarian and an Olympic figure skater. Today she is a writer of fragments and run-on sentences.
Nicole Ponseca owns two restaurants and has a cookbook coming out in 2018. Some people like what she does, some don't.
Ricco Villanueva Siasoco has published stories and essays in AGNI, Joyland, Post Road, The North American Review, and numerous anthologies including Walang Hiya (Carayan Press, 2010) and Screaming Monkeys (Coffee House Press, 2003). In 2013, he was selected as a NYC Emerging Writer Fellow from The Center for Fiction. Ricco received his MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and has taught at Columbia University, Boston College, and the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Currently, he is completing a PhD from Teachers College, Columbia University and is a board member of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature.
Lara Stapleton was born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan. Her mother and extended family are from the Philippines. New York City is her home. She is the author of THE LOWEST BLUE FLAME BEFORE NOTHING, a Pen Open Book Committee Selection and an Independent Booksellers' Selection. Her stories, poems and essays have been published in dozens of periodicals including the LA Review of Books, Glimmer Train, and the Alaska Quarterly Review. She is currently at work with producer Rachel Watanabe-Batton on 1850, an episodic series set in New Orleans before the Civil War.