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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (20)     +     OPENINGS (12)     +     DEADLINES (9)     +     CLOSINGS (22)
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Join us for our Winter 2018 season at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre

Kwentong Bayan Collective: BALIKBAYAN

January 24th – April 21st, 2018
At the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre
Opening Reception: Friday, February 9th, 7-9 pm. The artists will be in attendance.

The exhibition BALIKBAYAN features a visual timeline of the 150+ year history of caregiving in Canada by racialized women, and Balikbayan boxes that contain migration and labour stories.

In the Filipino language, “balik” means “to return” and “bayan” can mean “country, place, home, or town”.

Since the ‘70s, the labour export policy of the Philippine government has forced Overseas Filipino Workers to work abroad to provide for their families. An average of 6,000 workers leave the Philippines each day. One way they maintain a connection with their loved ones is to send home balikbayan boxes home packed with items that symbolize their labour and care.

Not just an exhibition, BALIKBAYAN will transform WAHC into a gathering place to listen to migrant worker stories. In a series of gatherings, workers from Hamilton and Toronto will participate in a healing soup circle, create storytelling wearables, and plant native seeds. At each gathering, folks can create their own pasalubong (gifts) to take home and share with others.

This exhibition and program will be accompanied by an exhibition essay by feminist and trade union activist Zenee Maceda.

About the Kwentong Bayan Collective:

Kwentong Bayan is a collective of two Toronto-based artists, Althea Balmes and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo. Their artistic mandate is to explore a critical and intersectional approach to community-based art, labour, and education.

Althea Balmes is an artist-educator rooted in community work. She uses her strong connection to her culture and her place as a diasporic Canadian woman of colour to inspire her work and as a way to connect to others. Althea is pursuing a Master of Information degree in User Experience Design at the University of Toronto.

Jo SiMalaya Alcampo is an interdisciplinary artist whose art practice includes community storytelling, interactive installations, and electroacoustic soundscapes. Jo volunteers with Caregiver Connections, Education and Support Organization (CCESO) – an organization that supports migrant caregivers, and is a member of the Kapwa Collective – a mutual support group of Filipinx Canadian artists, critical thinkers, and healers bridging narratives between the Indigenous and the Diasporic.

BALIKBAYAN Public Programs:

Saturday, February 3rd, 1:30 – 4 pm   Spoken Word and Activism workshop for ages 12 and up with musician and educator Janice Jo Lee. Accompanied by a short tour of BALIKBAYAN at 1:30; workshop at 2 pm. PWYC; pre-registration required via Eventbrite.

Saturday, February 10th, 1:30 – 3:30 pm   Artists Talk and Guided Exhibition Walkthrough with the Kwentong Bayan Collective (Jo SiMalaya Alcampo and Althea Balmes). Free; all are welcome.

Saturday, April 14th, 1:30 – 4 pm   Comic Jam workshop for ages 12 and up with Althea Balmes of the Kwentong Bayan Collective and Keet Geniza. Accompanied by a short tour of BALIKBAYAN at 1:30; workshop at 2 pm. PWYC; pre-registration required via Eventbrite.

For more information, contact:
Tara Bursey, Program Coordinator at or (905) 522-3003 ex. 29


Caregiver Gathering Series
with the Kwentong Bayan Collective

A series designed for caregivers and their families. Pre-registration is required via Eventbrite through WAHC’s website.

Sunday, February 25th, 1-4 pm   Healing Soup
Guests will learn how to make a traditional Filipino healing soup and share a community meal. Guest facilitator Karen Ancheta will share stories about the traditional ingredients used to make Chicken Tinola soup. Vegetarian options provided. This gathering will honour the labour of migrant agricultural workers and local farmers who help us access fresh and healthy food.

Sunday, March 18th, 1-4 pm   Community Storytelling
Guest facilitators from Caregiver Connections, Support & Education Organization (CCESO) will teach guests about the history of Overseas Filipino Workers. We will honour the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and the land. Guests will create a collective map that explores migration stories, and design buttons that reflect on these stories.

Sunday, April 15th, 2018, 1-4 pm   Native Seeds Offering
Guests will make plantable paper embedded with native wildflower seeds, text, and drawings. Participants are invited to write messages to the land and plant in WAHC's community garden. Guests will learn about native seeds, our relationship with plants not from this land, how to make intentional offerings, and about the work of Land and Water Protectors.

Workers Arts & Heritage Centre
51 Stuart Street | Hamilton, Ontario | (905) 522-3003
Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm
Twitter: @WAHC
Facebook: WorkersArtsandHeritageCentre

The Workers Arts & Heritage Centre is a fully accessible building.

The BALIKBAYAN exhibition, artists talk and caregiver workshop and gathering series are generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. BALIKBAYAN’s auxiliary programs for youth and adults 12 and up are supported by the Hamilton Community Foundation.


BALIKABAYAN image credit (top): Tara Bursey
HEALING SOUP illustration (middle) courtesy of Althea Balmes