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Marikit Santiago Filipiniana (self-portrait in collaboration with Maella Santiago Pearl)

acrylic, interior paint, pen and oil on found cardboard

110.5 x 100.7 cm

This self-portrait by Marikit Santiago was created in collaboration with her seven-year-old daughter Maella Santiago Pearl.

‘While motherhood is individual and unique, my work unifies the experiences of others, and reveals my personal bond with my children,’ says Santiago, a Filipina–Australian artist who won the Sulman Prize last year with a painting of her three children.

Filipiniana symbolises this bond by including painterly marks by my firstborn, Maella, which weave in and out of the multiple layers. They create a vestige of her life now and our special collaboration.

‘I stand in the poses of Frida Kahlo’s Self-portrait with monkeys 1943 and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa 1503–18. In order to mimic them, my hair is braided in ways never normally worn, and my body is folded into awkward positions. The confrontation of the dual portraits represents how I portray myself and how I am perceived by others.

‘The title Filipiniana refers to the traditional Filipino formal garments typically worn over an undershirt. The sheer fabric reveals my nude body; a subtle rebellion, perhaps exposing the depiction as fraudulent. Where the portraits overlap, the colours shift to negative, suggesting uncertainty and contradiction.’

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