Nothing is as symbolic to Filipinos leaving to work overseas than the image of a suitcase. The quintessential maleta signifies the hope of a brighter tomorrow, even if that tomorrow lies in other shores.
It is a familiar feeling for artist Proceso “Pro” Gelladuga (b. 1980), who left the Philippines in search of a better life for himself and his family. “I began my journey as an OFW in the year 2006,” he recalls.
One of the estimated 2.4 million documented Filipinos working abroad, Gelladuga has been living in Hong Kong for the past 10 years. “So many things have changed for me,” he says of the experience.
This experience is the subject of Gelladuga’s exhibition at Galerie Stephanie. “Maleta” is a chronicle of OFWs as they struggle with the complexities and nuances of life abroad to sustain their families back home.
By zeroing in on the universal symbolism that the maleta has as a stand-in for OFWs, Gelladuga has painted a series of works in this exhibit that embody both the hope and the perils OFWs face.
This exhibit is a reminder of the many whose path toward upward mobility is paved with struggle, and that this nation has many who have been forced to roam the earth to survive.
“Maleta” opens Tuesday, July 26, and runs until Aug. 9 at Galerie Stephanie, Unit 1B Parc Plaza Bldg., 183 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Libis, Quezon City; tel. 7091488; e-mail [email protected]