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2022- on going


BASAhan, 2022

Various sizes, cotton fabric

BASAhan is a series of sculptural objects that address the labour of paid

maintenance workers in Canada, beginning with the experiences of family members.

Hipol’s maternal grandmother was a rag maker. She would buy fabric offcuts and

tailends, sewing them together to create circular cleaning rags or woven floor mats.

The labour of cleaning is also woven into Hipol’s family. His family has worked in

the cleaning and service industry from the early days of their immigration until

now. The association of Filipinos with the labor of housekeeping and hired cleaners

is a stereotype that reduces the reality and complexity of Filipino identity.Thus,

presenting a problematic representation of Filipinos in Canada, collapsing Filipinos’

varied experiences and professions into small boxes.

Hipols history of making rags started with his grandmother, this manual labour of

crafting provides income for their family. Basahan is commonly sold in the local

markets for a cheap price, which associates with Filipinos as producers of cheap

labour abroad. Hipol holds this object through the series as a discussion of Filipino

representation. He brings these objects to the forefront to investigate basahan

as a “low class/cheap labour.” Cleaning and cleaners are often taken for granted.

However, here they are given visibility and ask for critical attention. The “BASAhan”

is used in the dialogue of interaction, subjectivity and banality and how all this

reflects in the real world.

Hipol flips these rags, utilizing a handmade loom and clean white cloths. White

rags are preferred when doing custodial tasks because they are perceived as “clean.”

And as a precious white cleaning rag, how is this suspends the time when this

object will eventually stay clean? Here, Hipol repositions these cheap cleaning rags

in the dialogues of valour and control. David Batchelor argues that “in the West,

since Antiquity, colour has been systematically marginalized, reviled, diminished,

and degraded.” This chromophobia, or fear of colour, manifests as the valorization

of white as the colour of rational, clean, controlled spaces, while colour is seen as

dangerous, superficial, and potentially contaminating.


Iba't Ibang Kulay, Iisang Anino,  Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2022

Iba't ibang kulay, Iisang Anino Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2022

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