Original Published 14:44 May 30, 2022

By Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

EX SITU is back – a milestone art exhibit is returning to Peace Gallery North this week, celebrating everything it means to be from the Philippines. Running from May 31 to June 8, the exhibit coincides with Filipino Heritage Month.

Artist Castrillo-Hill is curating the show, bringing her years of experience as a world-renowned sculptor and designer, with installations in Manila, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Canada.

“For many Filipinos around the world, it’s the most significant month of celebrating being Filipino,” she said, noting that June 12 is Filipino Independence Day.

Ex Situ means thriving in a place that’s not your natural habitat, a skill which the Fort St. John Filipino community has mastered, bringing their passion, hard-work, honesty, and artistic talent to Northeastern B.C.

“Traditionally, art is not something that we’re known for, it’s an opportunity for the community to see us in a different way,” said Castrillo-Hill. “For us to be seen in our entirety, not just as a sector or providers of certain things.”

“It’s also for the growing community of Filipinos that are coming to Fort St. John. We’re trying to reach out to the new members of the Filipino community and let them know that they have this opportunity to show other facets of themselves. It’s an opportunity for engagement and to have a sense of identity here,” she added.

The show has been somewhat absent due the COVID-19 pandemic, said Castrillo-Hill, but did run in 2020, after debuting in 2019. She added that the art crosses both generations and mediums.

“Filipinos are very festive and it’s going to be very true to style, we’re going to have a little bit of everything,” she said.

A documentary of the same name, EX SITU, is also being worked on by Castrillo-Hill, providing a lens into the lives and experiences of Filipinos living in the Peace Region.

“The endgame is the same, it’s about visibility and representation. Finding our place in the sun, and we happen to be Filipinos in Canada, just living our best lives – being who we are and what we are, hoping that other people will appreciate us for being here,” she said.

Peace Gallery North curator Jacqueline Benedetto says the show is not one to be missed.

“The show features a variety of mediums and artistic depictions, as well as artists of all ages. Timed to coincide with Filipino Heritage Month, the opening reception will include a celebration of food, drinks, art, and community,” she said.

This item reprinted with permission from Alaska Highway News, Fort St. John, British Columbia