On Memory and Myth

Maia Cruz Palileo at Artforum:

THIS SHOW’S TITLE comes from a letter that my grandmother wrote to me around ten years ago. I had just begun collecting stories from my family and had asked her to describe the house she lived in as a young girl in the Philippines. She drafted a long, detailed letter, filled with drawings. But she forgot to specify my apartment number on the address, so the letter was eventually returned to her. When she re-sent it, she added a note, lamenting, “All the while I thought you had received this.”

There was something about that phrase that really resonated with me. My work has so much to do with the oral history of my family and how stories construct a sense of our past and build a mythology. Growing up in Chicago, I’d hear so many tales about the Philippines from family members, but they always seemed a bit hazy and fragmented. My other grandmother, who never emigrated to the US, would reference bits and pieces of the past: “Your grandfather was in the war.” I was so interested in what their lives used to be like, but I could never get a full picture. I became curious about which stories don’t get told and what information doesn’t get passed on.

more here.