From its beginnings in Vancouver in 2007, to Toronto in 2010, and now Montreal, the Maleta Art Exhibit‘s migration almost perfectly mimics the migration of the fictional Maleta family that is highlighted in the exhibit itself.
‘Maleta’ is the Tagalog word for ‘suitcase’, and in the Maleta Art Exhibit, a community-based arts project, each of the five suitcases in this exhibit are painted as a member of the fictional Filipino Canadian Maleta family. The painted suitcases are meant to portray the Filipino Canadian community’s ongoing story of migration and of the community’s determination to succeed and flourish in Canadian society.
Through the depiction of the Maleta family’s varying shades and hues, viewers are revealed to the unique struggles of Filipino women, workers, and youth as they settle into Canada and, in time, become valuable contributors to their new communities. “During the exhibit,” Julay Nieto, chairperson of Philippine Women Centre of Quebec, explained, “the Maleta family truly stood out. They hit audiences with a dose of reality that cannot be denied. The creative assertion of our empowerment is key if we want to paint a new future as a community.”
The Maleta Art Exhibit is currently hosted at Galerie 3755, at the Jewish General Hospital’s biannual staff art exhibit, in Montreal until July 13, 2011. For more information, contact Julay Nieto at Kapit bisig Centre.