Artist Camille Hoffman’s family ancestry is rooted in the Philippines, and her practice throughout her career has involved a reconsidering of misplaced personal and collective narratives in the wake of colonialism. This new public sculpture pays tribute to the long legacy of Filipinx people in California dating back to 1587, when the first Filipinos stepped foot on Northern Chumash land and the present-day Continental U.S. at Morro Bay, California. The Philippines was a colony of Spain from 1565-1898, and a territory of the United States between 1898-1946. At the time of the 1587 landing and for the duration of the Manila galleon trade, many Indigenous Filipinos (referred to at the time as Luzon Indios or Manila Men) were exploited for their labor and seafaring expertise, building and working the Spanish ships. Under US settler colonialism, Filipinxs made up the backbone of the agricultural industry and were central in leading some of the earliest labor movements in the 20th century US. Similarly, nurses were brought to the US to support its understaffed healthcare industry. As of 2019, one out of 20 registered nurses in the US were trained in the Philippines, and for this reason were one of the hardest hit communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This sculpture features the silhouettes of historic photos of Filipinxs of California, and honors laborers, past, present, and future. This Bayanihan (Bayan coming from the Filipinx root word “nation”, is the spirit of community, unity, and cooperation) so deeply connected to our corner of the Central Coast, is foundational to the American story. This sculpture pays tribute to the stories and waters that connect us all.
This public art piece changes throughout the day based on environmental conditions such as light, wind and clouds. Ideal viewing takes place at sunset.
The installation of Storied Waters complements an exhibition of Camille Hoffman’s paintings and sculpture in the Museum’s Gray Wing through August 22, 2022.
This installation is brought to you by the City of SLO’s Art in Public Places program.