Center for Art,
Research and Alliances
October 12, 2023

Long Kwento: Maia Cruz Palileo Reading and Conversation with Kim Nguyen

Publication Cover

Please join us on Thursday, October 12 for the launch of Maia Cruz Palileo: Long Kwento, published by Sming Sming Books. The evening will include a reading and conversation between multi-disciplinary artist Maia Cruz Palileo and writer and curator Kim Nguyen.

Influenced by the oral history of their family’s arrival to the United States from the Philippines, as well as the history between the two countries, Maia Cruz Palileo investigates larger questions pertaining to identity, history, migration, and concepts of time. Long Kwento stems from research Palileo initially conducted in 2017 at the Newberry Library in Chicago, one of the largest collections of Filipiniana in the Western world. In 2021, Palileo was invited to research the Philippine Collections at the University of Michigan as an artist in residence for the ReConnect/ReCollect project—a multidisciplinary, multigenerational group of faculty, librarians, archivists, curators, collections managers, and students working together to uncover how the objects that make up these collections were acquired, their colonial ties, and the academic systems of ordering these materials, while undertaking reparative work with the living community members from whose ancestors these objects were stolen.

Palileo recontextualizes these stories, portraits, and images in an attempt to resuscitate these figures from the exploitative gaze of these ethnographic images. This artist book integrates historical narratives from the colonial past of the Philippines with stories, images, and memories of Palileo’s life as a Filipinx American growing up in the United States. Combining Palileo’s extensive research with narratives of American Imperialism, beginning with the Filipino-American war, and the artist’s own understanding of a fractured and complex past, the work evokes nostalgia and romanticism while critiquing the ramifications of colonization, past and present.

Long Kwento includes texts by Shirley Ancheta, Justin de Leon, Natalie Diaz, Joy Harjo, and Kim Nguyen.

'Long Kwento' by Maia Cruz Palileo, Sming Sming Books. 2023
'Long Kwento' by Maia Cruz Palileo, Sming Sming Books. 2023

Maia Cruz Palileo is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Migration and the permeable concept of home are constant themes in their paintings, installations, sculptures, and drawings. Influenced by familial oral histories about migrating to the US from the Philippines alongside the troubling colonial history between the two countries, Palileo infuses these narratives using both memory and imagination. When stories and memories are subjected to time and constant retelling, the narratives become questionable, bordering the line between fact and fiction, while remaining cloaked in the convincingly familiar.

Kim Nguyen is Program Director at the Ruth Foundation for the Arts. She previously served as Curator and Head of Programs at CCA Wattis Institute in San Francisco. She has worked closely with a wide range of artists, including recent projects with Maia Cruz Palileo, Jeffrey Gibson, Josh Faught, Cinthia Marcelle, Hồng-Ân Trương, Abbas Akhavan, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ken Lum, and Trinh T. Minh-ha. Nguyen is currently working on her first collection of writings, a series of texts on alienation, art, and the long goodbye.

Sming Sming Books is the publishing studio of artist Vivian Sming, experimenting with books as art, discourse, exhibition, and archive. Formed in 2017, the studio designs and publishes a wide range of artists’ books, zines, and editions in close collaboration with artists whose works and ideas inform design, material, and printing choices. Sming Sming Books is invested in creating books from practices that are challenging to represent on paper. The studio is committed to promoting critical discourse and advancing cultural equity through the format of publishing.

Copies of Long Kwento will be available for sale in the CARA Bookstore.

Book Launch
Thursday, October 12, 2023
7:00pm, doors at 6:30pm

Free and open to the public.
Reservations encouraged. RSVP here.

We ask that visitors stay home if feeling sick, or have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days. Testing before joining us at CARA if feeling symptomatic is strongly recommended. Masks will be available for free.

The closest wheelchair accessible subway is 14th St/8th Avenue station. The entry to CARA is ADA-compliant and our bookstore and galleries are barrier free throughout, with all gender, wheelchair accessible restrooms. CARA has wheelchairs available for guest use. Please request in advance via Service animals are welcome.