Thank you to everyone who came out to support the release of like a solid to a shadow by Janice Lobo Sapigao. This event engaged the audience on as many levels as the book itself, weaving together multiple shrines, a participatory installation by Kimberley Acebo Arteche, a reading by Andrea Marina, music by Paolo Espiritu, and a stunning performance by Janice Lobo Sapigao that combined a reading with video projection, a tape recording of her father speaking in Ilokano, and communal sharing of Filipino food. Each of these performances critiqued, mourned, and resisted the historical and present violence and erasure directed at immigrants and indigenous peoples.
We believe Elana Chavez, co-founder of Cantíl reading series, said it best in her introduction to Janice's performance:
Thank you to the people that make a book like the one we welcome. Books of illumination, it is suitable that they call themselves Timeless, Infinite Light. The luminescence that this particular book emits is three dimensions strong, past, present and future. It is through these dimensions that the searching voice, the voice of our narrator, the voice whom the writer here before us names the same name as themselves, seeks its own identity. The voice travels in language. A language that the voice is actively learning as we move through space with it. As the voice takes us. And reminds us that the language it is working to translate is verbal in nature and it functioned in this nature prior to "Roman" letters and "duplicated ideas". Told events, made an event of telling. So immediately, as usual for the indigenous in our world, colonialism begins its dirty work. It works to hide the past from us now, from the us in the future. Colonialism works to change our names, it makes our names, for only certain tongues form the shape of the names of everyone. That power is not for everyone. The text, the voice of the father, that the narrator is working with is itself incomplete, fragmented. Technology cant help much, documents are lost, names are lost. So what does one do? The best one can with what one has and in this case it is to make an artifact and a record.