Lewanda's latest painting "1904 World's Fair"
1904 World's Fair. 2021. Acrylic. 36” x 48”
Just a few years after the Philippines was annexed by Spain to the US, it was represented in the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. In an extraordinary and sprawling manner, the fair was a venue to showcase an American achievement and entry into the world stage as an imperial power.
The ethnic tribal character of the newly acquired colony was prominently displayed in simulated settings. Certain tribal practices were featured and attracted huge audiences because of the sensational ways they were shown. Over-all, the idea was to represent the Philippines as a backward and less civilized country that needed to be educated and modernized by a benevolent colonizer. This lop-sided presentation of the Philippines angered some people but their protests were drowned out by the prevailing big brother sentiment of the public and government.
MgaKwento is a storytelling collaboration exploring the intersection of art , ethnic identity development and experiences of the Filipino diaspora.