Marigold Santos’ practice explores the ways in which ideas of self-hood can become multiple, fragmented, and dislocated and then reinvented and recreated through a reflection of movement, migration and change. In particular, she returns to the memories associated with her family’s immigration from the Philippines to Canada in the late 80’s as an auto-biographical point of departure, and considers the experiences of a young person coming to terms with a new sense of self in relation to their new environment. Negotiating narratives of the past and present results in the creation of a personal myth, a visual vocabulary influenced by the hybrid of Filipino and Western folktales of Santos' early youth, the Canadian pop culture of the late 80’s and early 90’s, the science and social politics of that period, and the Canadian geography and landscape.
The imagery within Santos' interdisciplinary work consists of elements that reflect on the notion of a self that is plural and in-process, and takes place within the realms of the otherworldly - where the porous boundaries of reality and the fantastical rupture, overflow, and reconfigure. Persistent in her work is the reference to the creature of fear in Filipino folklore known as the Asuang - a supernatural shape-shifting witch and ghoul who has the ability to self-sever. In her work the narrative is reconfigured; these Asuang speak not of malevolence, but of lived experience, self-awareness, transformation, and empowerment to celebrate and embrace plurality and fragmented identities.
Marigold Santos, SIOPAO, 2018, ceramics 22k gold. Photo: courtesy of the artist.