Family Portraits by Ryan Arbilo
About the Exhibition
Halo-halo is a well-known Filipino dessert made with mixed fruit, boiled sweetened white beans, milk, and shaved ice, usually served with purple yam, leche flan, and ice cream. It is a classic dessert that warms the hearts of many Filipinos with nostalgia. The closest translation to it is Mix-Mix in English.
Halo-Halo-Mix-Mix is a seventeen-piece black and white photography exhibition of Ryan Arbilo, featuring portraits of mixed-race families taken in seven different cities of Italy. The collection depicts the life of families composed of Filipina mothers, Italian fathers, and biracial children. The photographer aims to create awareness and understanding to the notion of globalization in a nation with mixed-race relations, culture, language and upbringing. The exhibition shows that each family portrait has their own story to tell.
This exhibition is a sequel to Chicken Hands, an exhibit in 2017 held at the Yuchengco Museum. Chicken Hands featured portraits of Filipina housemaids, with a particular focus on their tired, weary, chicken feet-like hands. Filipino emigration to France has a face, a female face. The women portrayed in Arbilo’s photographs just want to support their families back in the Philippines. Arbilo’s ‘chicken hands’ images have the power of an intimate face-to-face encounter. These are portraits with no touch-ups, of women, of mothers, holding out their bare damaged hands—the only tool they posses.
Since 2009, Arbilo has been photographing the struggles of Filipino housemaids who travel to France determined to give a better life for their family. “The significance of seeing their bare hands… their ‘Chicken Hands,’ as a symbol of the sacrifice and demeaning treatment they endure, both inspired and moved me to tell their story the best way I knew how: through the art of photography,” shares Arbilo.
Filipino immigrants can be found in almost every country in the world. Many have left the country to look for greener pastures elsewhere, and for others, it’s to form their own families there. Their children may not think of the Philippines as their home, but they are Filipinos nonetheless. Their homes have become a melting pot of shared respect for each other’s culture and beliefs.
The images were taken by Ryan Arbilo, a Filipino photographer and videographer based in Paris. Ryan Arbilo was the first Filipino to hold an exhibit in La Maison Européen de la Photographie in Paris, France for his project Chicken Hands. His latest project, Halo-Halo-Mix-Mix, will be on view from March 23 to June 22, 2019 at the Yuchengco Museum.
About the Photographer
Born in Laguna, Philippines and now based in Paris, France, Ryan Arbilo studied French, photography, videography in Manila and Paris.
Former French Minister of Culture Jack Lang says that Arbilo “uses his talent to highlight the plight of these all too often invisible women, to challenge the viewer, and to embody which many prefer to ignore.” Arbilo’s Chicken Hands series of photographs have previously been exhibited in Monaco and Paris.
Mix Family: Photographs by Ryan Arbilo will be on view from March 23 to June 22, 2019. Yuchengco Museum is at G/F RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala and Gil J. Puyat Avenues, Makati City. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM. For more information, call (632) 889-1234 or email [email protected]