03 Aug Featured CPAC Member: Jason Reblando
Member Since: 2022
Our members make up an exceptionally talented group that are moved by a passion for reshaping life by way of a photographic practice. We’re excited to feature Jason Reblando, who recently received Best in Show, awarded by juror Gregory Harris during our 2022 Annual Members’ Show Opening Reception. Reblando’s Filipino-American identity inspired his award winning project, Field Notes. Spend some time browsing through this series of photocollages to better understand how Reblando works to reclaim the narrative of the American colonial period in the Philippines through his art.
ABOUT THE WORK
By Jason Reblando
In an 1895 photograph from the University of Michigan Philippine archives, a smiling Filipina faces the camera, posing in front of lush tropical trees with a hand on her hip. The bottom half of her body is wrapped in an intricate tapestry, and the top half of her body is naked, except for beaded necklaces. Written into the photograph is the title “Young Ifugao Belle, 382.” This image is just one of thousands of photographs taken by American colonizers who were eager to create a narrative of white saviorism and thus shape the way Americans perceived the Philippines throughout the twentieth century.
I am a Filipino-American photographer and artist, and for my project, Field Notes, I create photocollages based upon archival images from the American colonial period in the Philippines. By physically cutting, pasting, and rearranging various elements of the images, I aim to deconstruct and critique the colonial gaze, while attempting to reclaim part of the photographic narrative. I hope that by layering and reshaping images upon images, the cumulative effect interrupts the reading of the original photograph. In some collages, the cut patterns reference textile-makers across the Philippine archipelago, while in other collages, shapes and silhouettes allude to a problematic colonial past.
Field Notes is a meditation upon the long, complex relationships between the Philippines and the United States, anthropology and photography, and mass media and society. By weaving historical photographs into my own contemporary art practice, I recontextualize archives that codified colonial power dynamics between the United States and the Philippines. Ultimately, I hope that my project will contribute to a growing conversation by contemporary artists who are eager to interrogate the colonizing power of the archive, not only for Filipinos, but for all members of the Global South.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jason Reblando is an artist and photographer based in Normal, Illinois. He received his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, and a BA in Sociology from Boston College. He is the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to the Philippines, an Artist Fellowship Award from the Illinois Arts Council, and a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. His photographs are collected in the Library of Congress, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Pennsylvania State University Special Collections, the Midwest Photographers Project of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He currently serves on the Society for Photographic Education Board of Directors and is an Assistant Professor of Photography in the Wonsook Kim School of Art at Illinois State University.