Maria Sofia Guevara: We're Over Here

My thesis is about cultural identity. Specifically the disconnect of Filipinx identity. I wanted to portray these feelings, stories, moments of disconnect, so I reached out with many filipinxs in the GTA to showcase their moments of what disconnects them from the culture.

Based on the immigration experience and Asian Diaspora in the West, this project is about the disconnection of Filipino identity. When people move to a different country there are values/traditions/habits that can be easily forgotten or dropped. This can be because of the change of time when assimilating or due to the nature of trying to fit in. When this happens it is so easy to feel that disconnect from your birth home.

Q&A

Could you tell us about any current projects that you are working on?

My thesis is about cultural identity. Specifically the disconnect of Filipinx identity. I wanted to portray these feelings, stories, moments of disconnect, so I reached out with many filipinxs in the gta to showcase their moments of what disconnects them from the culture.

Describe your project in its current state and what you’d like it’s final outcome to be.

Currently, it’s a work in progress. I am hoping that I would have a total of at least 10-12 images with filipinxs in various age groups. It is a little rough during covid times but I’ll try my best haha. This will be in exhibition-style so I would have them printed with descriptions of each person explaining what has disconnected them. I plan to continue this even after I graduate because it was such a fun learning experience and an opportunity to connect with others.

How did you reach the conceptualization of your current project?

Growing up I did not fully connect to my culture. I moved to Canada at such a young age and I was desperately trying to remember and hold on to memories of the Philippines. But at the same time, the older I got as I assimilated to the West, I forget. I met countless other people who have felt the same way. I wanted this project to feel like you’re peering into their lives like a little bubble and you can connect with how they feel/felt.

How did you reach the conceptualization of your current project?

Growing up I did not fully connect to my culture. I moved to Canada at such a young age and I was desperately trying to remember and hold on to memories of the Philippines. But at the same time, the older I got as I assimilated to the West, I forget. I met countless other people who have felt the same way. I wanted this project to feel like you’re peering into their lives like a little bubble and you can connect with how they feel/felt.

Are there any artists that have inspired this work? If so, why?

Cho Gi-Seok, you can find on instagram @Chogiseok. A Korean conceptual/modern photographer. This isn’t related to my recent project but I want to create consistent work like this person. It feels like the work made is on the bridge of fiction and non/fiction.

Describe any challenges you have faced and any solutions that you have found to be helpful in the creative process.

I have hit artist block so many times. One thing that normally gets me out of the funk is to see other people make art online. It makes me motivated. Another is to create mood boards on Pinterest. I grab images that best describe the specific feelings I feel in the moment.

Have you had any success in getting your work out into the world? Do you have suggestions for other artists?

I have only had my work published locally through Function, Max Ex, Bread and Butter, and my website. I don’t always get views but I am happy with what I show. A good tip is to not compare other people’s success with your own work when publishing. I just appreciate everyone’s, and myself. I am happy I get easy access to look at other people’s work.

Maria Sofia Guevara is a photographer currently living and working in Toronto, ON. Originally from the Philippines, she first discovered her passion for the arts at a very young age, when she experimented with drawing, painting, sculpting, and capturing images. With inspiration coming from dreams, television series, and the nature that surrounds her, Sofia shoots still-life, portraiture, conceptual, and street photography, while in her personal work she is influenced by cinematography and conceptual photography. Her recent work focuses on the immigrant experience and issues related to healing and self-care, and she is working towards bringing more art forms into the digital realm.