Tapaya, Rodel b.1980 / Repatriated Bodies
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Tapaya, Rodel b.1980 / Repatriated BodiesTapaya, Rodel b.1980 / Repatriated BodiesTapaya, Rodel b.1980 / Repatriated Bodies
about this work
A local vampire called a “Manananggal” represents the Filipinos that work overseas to feed their families. The word 'manananggal' comes from the Filipino word tanggal (cognate of Malay tanggal), which means "to remove" or "to separate", literally translating as "remover" or "separator". In this case, "one who separates itself". This creature divides itself into two; the lower torso represents a part of those Filipinos left behind when one decides to work abroad. These are their families, loved ones and their rootedness to Filipino culture. The upper body consisting of the head and hands up to the waist, represent the Filipinos abroad to gather food for the families they left behind.

This work is a commentary reaction to the recent civil war in Libya given the number of Filipino's living and working in the country known as Overseas Filipino Workes (OFW). One such construction worker was kidnapped for being non Muslim and later beheaded by a military gang. Another Filipina nurse was raped by a gang of youths. Both tragedies brought pain and trauma to the notion of Filipinos living and working abroad. In the lower part of the work, the image of a dog that also resembles an air plane symbolizes the rescue organised by the Philippine government to rescue the Filipino workers in Libya during the civil war. Tapaya explains; "I used the image of a dog for a dog in a mythical story in Bontoc tribe, northern part of Philippines, the dog also acted as the liberator of people affected by flood and brought people to higher ground on top of a mountain. These unfortunate events, being caught in the middle of conflict are risks of working abroad. The pain of being separated from home, being an OFW, being a “manananggal” resulted to a literal separation such as death and accidents". 

Rodel Tapaya (b.1980, Philippines)

Repatriated Bodies, 2014

Acrylic on canvas
243 x 335 cm.
95 11/16 x 131 7/8 in.
Arndt Gallery, Berlin, Germany  Current Location:
Switzerland - Basel - S PaintingSouth Asia


South East Asia Now, Arndt Gallery pop-up
Association France-Amériques, Paris, France
October 2014 - October 2014

Artwork History
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