Maia Cruz Palileo
A painting of a family, submerged to their chests in a jungle pool.

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Wild Flowers
Collection of Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger

In between the earth and the sea, where trees and tropical flowers break through the turquoise waters, an intergenerational group of women emerges. In contrast to the other figures, the woman on the right looks spectral, her face being the only one seemingly lit with nocturnal light.

Maia Cruz Palileo explores their Filipino American identity in improvised paintings that evoke what they call “the permeable concept of home.” Inspired by personal and institutional photographic archives and by stories recounted by their family, Palileo’s artworks speak to the history of colonization, migration, and assimilation, and to the resilience of Filipinos in relation to the United States. Rather than passive, the subjects in their work have agency. The kind but blurry faces of the figures in Wild Flowers, along with the uncertain space they occupy, bring to mind the act of remembering and piecing together one’s past.