LOLAS

Photo by: Quincy Stamper

Photo by: Quincy Stamper

Lolas

July 20th, 2017

Asian Art Museum (SF) 

Lolas is a performance installation that re-fabricates and activates the dynamics of assimilation and resistance found in one Lola’s garden. Lola is the Filipino/Tagalog word for grandmother. Her garden is a composition of disidentifications: old household items, combined with religious and popular icons, litter the museum turned front yard as assemblages of intimate and yet very historical cultural contact. Lolas unearths the complicated and sacrosanct figure of our Filipino grandmothers as well as an inheritance of racial discrimination, catholic guilt, and queer identities. In contrast to the utilitarian and naturally vibrant vegetable garden, Lolas is a manufactured garden of found materials, religious icons, and constructed identities.

My lola (Constance "Grandma Honey" Tacata) in her garden. Sanger, CA. n.d.

My lola (Constance "Grandma Honey" Tacata) in her garden. Sanger, CA. n.d.

An old oscillating fan sits inside a grotto fountain, covered in faux flowers, guarded by Buddha and the Virgin. A gazebo made of ceiling fan blades houses a shrine to José Rizal, Disney’s Cars, and beautiful Mexican women from the local newspaper. A toy doll house sits beneath lynched Cabbage Patch dolls, occupied by broken decoy hunting ducks.

Lola with nuns and priest at the fountain. Sanger, Ca. (1970)

Lola with nuns and priest at the fountain. Sanger, Ca. (1970)

Using photographs of one Lola’s garden, and objects gathered after her death, Lola’s re-constructs her garden in the Asian Art Museum as a site for live-tableaus, poetic readings pulled from her writings on faith, love, and death, as well as a stage for other Lolas or Lola figures to perform from the local Filipino community. These chimeric sculptures reveal a crystalline logic concealed beneath layers of appropriation, commoditization, sacral forms, and the suburban. Lolas invites us to dance with the mythic figure of the Lola.

Created by Ryan Tacata

Performers: Constante Tacata (Father), Jose E. Abad, and Maria Melinda David

Sound: Derek Phillips

Photos by Quincy Stamper