Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts


Opens May 16

  • Upcoming
  • Exhibition
LMQBA_WeAreThey_Photo Credit_Diana Diroy-Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts.jpg

Diana Diroy/Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts. We Are They (still). Image courtesy Diana Diroy/Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts.

A creative place-keeping project debuts in Homeroom by Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts (LMQBA, est. 2020), a grassroots collective of artists and cultural workers who celebrate the diasporic Filipino communities in Woodside, Queens, and throughout New York. Little Manila Queens: Mabuhay! examines the social impact of migration policies that have deployed Filipino workers outside the Philippines, with a focus on the Woodside Little Manila neighborhood. Exported labor from the Philippines has alleviated a shortage of healthcare workers in New York for over fifty years. Many of these care-workers have made their home in the neighborhood surrounding Elmhurst Hospital, which was the most severely impacted care facility of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020.

LMQBA emerged as a resource and amplifier of the experiences of nurses, homecare aids, childcare providers, teachers, domestic workers, and other essential care-workers who continue to experience exhaustion in a strained healthcare system. The organization embraces an ethos of compassion in their art-making, centering anticolonial frameworks and bayanihan, a collective civic spirit. For this project, participating artists created films, murals, banners, and dances in collaboration with members of the Philippine diaspora in Queens.

The centerpiece of their Homeroom presentation is the Balikbayan Arch, a newly commissioned counter-monument that facilitates exchange between the Philippines and its diaspora. The work subverts the Roman triumphal architecture of Manhattan’s Dewey Arch (1899–1900)—a now-demolished monument that celebrated the US conquest of Spain in the 1898 Battle of Manila, which gave rise to the Philippine-American War (1889–1902). The Balikbayan Arch reframes histories in which Filipinos were misrepresented as insurrectionists during their struggle for liberation, which led to Philippine Independence in 1946. The war has had a long impact on Filipinos, shaping present-day neocolonial relations that gave rise to the Filipino diaspora.

Constructed from shipping boxes used to send goods to family members in the Philippines, the monument reclaims Filipino labor in a reframing of history that connects the lingering effects of war to present-day migration. Throughout the exhibition, the structure will be disassembled box-by-box to deliver care packages to community organizations across the archipelago, symbolically dismantling a monument to colonialism and replacing it with networks of care.


May 16–October 21, 2024




22-25 Jackson Avenue Queens, NY 11101


Organized by Elena Ketelsen González, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1, and Janggo Mahmud, Public Programs and Community Engagement Fellow, MoMA PS1, in collaboration with Jaclyn Reyes and Xenia Diente, Lead Artists, Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts.