New York based artist Sean Go explores Filipino identities through cultural icons
Sean was born and raised in Manila, and was educated in the USA to broaden his perspectives. He has 7 degrees from UC Berkeley, Emory, Columbia, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. From these diverse learning opportunities, Sean has blended a unique appropriation style in his art that parodies, yet pays homage to some of the pop artists before him - among them Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jeff Koons. Because of his education in economics and business, as well as his international upbringing, Sean's pieces incorporate themes of capitalism, coloniality, and human nature, often in a witty and fun way which is more nuanced that what initially meets the eye.
Captain America's Jeepney (USA Flag)
“Captain America + Jeepney” is a piece that combines Steve Rogers notable superhero costume with the spirit of Manila’s jeepneys, which are rooted in decommissioned us military vehicles post world-war 2. The fun spirited piece has deeper symbolism - Filipinos love riding the American wave culturally, and the Filipino dream is even to move to America for many families. Is this too much of a colonial mentality and should we be more interested in our own unique culture?
Captain America's Jeepney (Philippine Flag)
This version of the theme of colonial mindset and de-coloniality has a slight twist in that the background is the Philippine flag, distinct from the American flag used in the prior piece's background. An homage to Jasper John's use of the flag, as well as Faith Ringgold in addressing how legacies of coloniality have been and still are with us today, both positive and negative.
“Halo halo” is a whimsical symphony of one of the most loved and favorite Philippine desserts - halo halo, which means "mix and match, all mixed together." Video games bring people together in group fun and competition, just like the titular famous desert in Manila. This piece is also greater representation of how regardless of your cultural, social, and economic background, shared fun is always a unifying experience.
Scar has been dreaming of the warthog's backside for the longest time! The tocino is a classic dish in Manila, and to think that it's saltiness and nostalgic texture comes from the meat of the very own Pumba is metaphorically nuanced. A subtle commentary on how western products are transferred easily, and how the colonial mindset of the Filipinos exists subconsciously still in what they eat (Filipino food like dinuguan, sisig, etc. are all considered "leftover" food that use the least desirable parts of an animal).
Taho Trooper is a piece about nostalgia, shared memories through food, and dynastic progression throughout the passage of time. This fun piece takes the taho, a common food of the masses, and combines it with stormtroopers. Despite the different armor shells that we showcase, our shared passion for food is such a binding force that enables different generations to come together in harmony.
The idea behind "Hulk Sisig" is that the Filipinos are often given second-hand food and the leftovers or remains of an animal. However, we can still turn these parts into something beautiful. In the end, we come out stronger as a nation because of our metaphorical and literal ability to transform resources into delicious food, much like how a small scientist is able to transform into the great Hulk.
There’s a magical allure about the Kalesa, the local carriage in the Philippines. It’s beautifully decorated with lush colors, reminiscent of private transportation in the Spanish colonial era. Adding Elsa from Frozen to a kalesa introduces thought provoking questions - is she carrying too much weight? Does she have to let go? Or does she thrive and gain satisfaction from her responsibilities as a princess?
An homage to the coming together of enemies through shared love for a classic Filipino brand of alcohol.
During the colonization of the Philippines, the natives were not called Filipinos, instead they were called indios. The natives were regarded as belonging to the “inferior races” and could not possibly be expected to rise beyond the limit nature had endowed them. Here, Tarzan represents the Indio, and despite the criticism placed by colonial powers, he wins the battle over Sabor.