Immigrants from the Philippines to Southern California have a variety of narratives and reasons pushing/pulling them to the transpacific journey. The six families are in no way representative, nor should they be displayed as the sole examples of immigration stories. There is power, however, in connecting the pieces between people in diaspora. Common threads reveal not just coincidences but strategic commonalities. The photographs in the Pakinggan Archive are valuable independently, with their own contexts and narratives and artistic choices; the photos are valuable in the collection among other photos from the family; and their photos are valuable when attached to common themes. Searching through the various tags such as “Motherhood,” “Cavite City,” and “Portrait,” the viewer may independently connect and cross-reference the images.
This exhibit selects images from the albums and curates them among a number of tags. The tags, or threads, chosen to follow are all mechanisms that encouraged immigration to Southern California. Two pathways include: work and the U.S. Navy.
In 2018, over 2 million Filiipinos lived in the United States (Migration Policy Institute, 2020). Immigration from the Philippines to the United States began especially following U.S. colonization of the Islands, as a result of The Treaty of Paris (1898) ending the Spanish-American war. The United States’ colonization of the Philippines introduced pathways for transpacific immigration that allowed individuals and families to seek work and as a result of joining the U.S. Navy.