Matt Manalo was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. He received his B.F.A. in Painting and Minor in Art History from the University of Houston. Manalo’s work was recently seen in the exhibition, Carriers: The Body as a Site of Danger and Desire, Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas curated by Tyler Blackwell and Steven Matijcio. He is included in the 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape/ A Possible Horizon curated by Evan Garza and Ryan Dennis. Manalo is the founder of Filipinx Artists of Houston and runs an alternative art space called the Alief Art House.
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I create work which involves elements of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and printmaking, employing raw materials, found objects (sometimes collected and oftentimes donated). By doing this, I aim to make my practice environmentally conscious as well as investigate the idea of scarcity and abundance. The grid serves as a foundation for much of my work to tackle geography, cartography, borders, and the idea of displacement while having a constant conversation of how “home” should be defined. Being a first generation immigrant, I discuss experiences navigating the physical and social structures of society. In exploring this, home becomes a two-part environment where I am split between the Philippines and Texas. The latter sits on the southern border of the US. It is also important to mention that colonization of the Philippines by Spain, Japan and the United States resulted in erasure, colorism and colonial mentality; a topic frequent in my work.