Weaving has become an effective technique in my current work, influenced by traditional practice from the Ilocos region, Philippines—my region of birth—a process I have never learned.
Here, I translate the motifs and symbols of textile, basketry weaving and webbing into paper or canvas weaving. By deconstructing, collaging, and cutting the archival and research materials, I can reconstruct, patch, and interweave historical records and create a counter-narrative. As social movements have risen over the past few years, the need to identify my positionality has pointed me toward my colonized history. Thus, in this process, decolonial practice is also interlinked. As a Filipino Canadian artist creating on the traditional unceded territories of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, North Vancouver, it is essential for me to decolonize my mind.
The new works I create encourage new ways of thinking and innovative artmaking. Ultimately, my artwork aims to reclaim, highlight, and celebrate Filipino identity and cultural heritage from the legacy of colonialism. Further, to comprehend my positionality, weave our stories, and disturb the ‘Filipino invisibility’ within the Canadian landscape.
Since immigrating to Canada in 2015, I have only been exposed to and taught Western artists, philosophies, and histories. As a result, my paintings undeniably echo Western visual elements, techniques, and interpretations. As I advanced my art practice, my studio professors introduced me to the concept of ‘Parallax’—the change in the observer’s point of view due to an apparent displacement of an object. In my case, I use myself as the subject by reconfiguring the paradigm and perceiving my works from a new perspective.
“Ang hindi lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan’ or ‘a person who does not look back at where they came from will not reach their destination,” a famous Filipino saying helps as a motivation for my new exploration. This time, I am embarking on a journey that looks back at Philippine history, investigating its centuries of colonization while closely looking at art and architecture and simultaneously examining its effects and the changes or developments through the utilization of painting, sculpture, paper weaving and art installation.
Karl Mata Hipol is a Filipino Canadian multidisciplinary artist, curator, and writer creating on the traditional unceded territories of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, also known as North Vancouver. His work spans drawing, painting, weaving, photography, sculpture, art installation, and public artwork. Currently, his artistic practice looks at Archival Collections from galleries and museums to investigate the absence or presence of Filipinos in Canada. He aims to weave his story and disturb ‘Filipino invisibility’ within the Canadian landscape. He holds a BFA (2022) with a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Curatorial Practices from Emily Carr University, where he was awarded the OPUS Art Supplies Graduation Award (BFA) and an Honorable Mention for the ECU Graduation Award for Anti-Racism + Social Justice. He has previously curated an exhibition at the Gordon Smith Gallery and Faculty Gallery, ECU. His gallery exhibitions include the Coquitlam Heritage, Il Centro Museo, Burnaby Village Museum, Burrard Arts Foundation, Centre A, Headline Gallery, Seymour Art Gallery, the Reach Gallery Museum, and Federation Gallery. He was also the artist-in-residence awardee at the Herschel Supply Co., Gastown (2022).