A highlight of the Filipino American History Month (FAHM) Symposium was the unveiling of the Philippine-Louisiana Historical Mural. The mural, created by seven Filipino artists and donated to the Philippine-Louisiana Historical Society (PLHS), depicts the live of the Manilamen, the Filipino settlers of coastal Louisiana.
The 6×12 foot painting brings together elements of early settler life, drawing inspiration from visual and textual descriptions on the life of the Manilamen that were created in the second-half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. The mural includes Manila Village in Barataria Bay (top left), the dried shrimp industry (bottom left), the settlement at St. Malo in Lake Borgne (top right), and the social life of the Manilamen (bottom right).
At the symposium, Dr. Almira Gilles told the story of the creation of the mural and introduced attendees to the artists:
- Leonardo Aguinaldo
- Darby Vincent Alcoseba
- Emmanuel Garibay
- Florentino Impas, Jr.
- Orley Ipon
- Jason Moss
- Othoniel Neri
The artists were originally brought together by an Arts and Anthropology project led by Gilles, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and hosted by the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois. The Philippines-based artists included in Arts and Anthropology stayed together after the project’s completion and formed The Durian Collective. Through the leadership of Gilles and the urging of Robert Romero, Honorary Consul for the Philippines and president of PLHS, the artists produced the mural as a celebration of the history of Filipinos in Louisiana.
The following YouTube playlist includes 1) the unveiling of the mural, 2) Gilles’ introduction to the mural and the artists involved, and 3) a time-lapse video of the artists creating the mural.