This paper examines the 2013 exhibition Through the Looking Glass: Inside My Domestic Portrait of Filipino Canadian artist Julius Poncelet Manapul. I ask in this case study: What are the ways in which Filipino Canadian artists mobilize art in response to their invisibility in Canadian society? Adopting a contextual analysis, I interpret Manapul’s artwork, my interview with the artist, and his writings and place them in conversation with discourses of contemporary art, visual culture, and cultural studies.
I argue Manapul’s hybrid art practice represents an emerging queer decolonial aesthetic that challenges Western heteronormative standards of family, home, identity, and citizenship consequently creating a utopic, third space of potentiality. Through physical, symbolic, and virtual interventions, Manapul provides an alternative vision of postcolonial subjectivity, which defies essentialist readings of ethnic identity prevalent in Canada’s neoliberal multicultural discourse. I discuss the implications of Manapul’s queer decolonial aesthetic in relation to multiculturalism in Canada and its generative possibilities for contemporary queer theory.
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