The John Hope Franklin Center Gallery is a space that brings together ideas, art and photography from across disciplines and themes. Exhibits on display are curated by the John Hope Franklin Center and include works by students, faculty, local and visiting artists and are displayed throughout the year in the gallery.

The John Hope Franklin Center and Asian/Pacific Studies Institute are hosting Filipina street muralist Venazir Martinez to Duke's campus to feature selections from her work in the John Hope Franklin Center art gallery as part of Filipino American History Month.

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street mural with various individuals in different actions

The exhibition, part of "Hilabana: Espasyo Temporal," delves into the dynamics of human interaction, dispersion, and identity formation across space and time. The intention is to create a psychogeographic map that captures the essence of contemporary Filipino indigenous and diasporic identities-within this temporal expanse, shared memories and collective experiences meld, forming the foundation of their shared identity.

Emerging from the Hila-bana street art movement that started in 2018 in Baguio City, Philippines, "Hila-bana" is rooted in the Tagalog term "hilbanahan," meaning temporary stitching. It embodies the symbiotic journey of individuals of diverse ethnicities. The pulang sinulid, or red thread, analogous to the DNA that runs through our veins, becomes a vital strand intertwining with our indigenous traditions, echoing the threads that course through the heart of our ancestral heritage. Across lived spaces, the subjects weave tales of cultural exchange, their footprints retracing the rhythm of urbanity and the ever-evolving movement of its inhabitants.

Event schedule:
October 6, 2023
4-5pm: View artist work & live music featuring West Oxking
5-5:30pm: Dr. Anna Storti will briefly introduce Venazir Martinez, followed by an artist talk and Q & A.
Light refreshments will be provided.

October 7, 2023
3-4pm: Venazir Martinez (Filipina artist); Karen Lynch Harley (Haliwa-Saponi artist) will complete a live mural in the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery. Come see their work in progress during this time.

October 8, 2023
4-5pm: The public is welcomed to come view the completed paintings in the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery.

The exhibition will remain on display in the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery through the end of October 2023.

About the artists:
Venazir Martinez is a Filipino visual anthropreneur, and a street muralist. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines Baguio. She was awarded Best Thesis through her art and advocacy entitled Hila-bana. This street art hunt challenged the public's visual perception through cultural emblems to revitalize Filipino ancestral heritage.

Martinez's creations are deeply influenced by the stories of people she encountered during her creative journey. Her artworks portray realistic depictions of individuals from diverse cultures, rendered in a fragmented and animated style. This approach, Progressive Abstract Realism, captures the intricate layers of our identities and the factors that have molded our fundamental values as a nation.

Venazir's profound fascination with identity formation became her spiritual quest and life's purpose, compelling her to redefine the myriad meanings of "Filipino" by interweaving the red thread, one wall at a time.

Karen Lynch Harley is a Native American Artist. She is a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe of North Carolina. Her work is inspired by her love of life and culture and usually tells a story. She believes art is therapy for the body and soul and enjoys sharing her gift with others to help them find their inner gifts and spirit. She pulls from her own roots to create art in a variety of art mediums.

Karen’s work has been received nationally and internationally. Her work has been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles regarding her art and devotion to teaching others how to release their creativity through art.

Karen has recently completed several outdoor murals in Halifax County, North Carolina for the Ed Fitts Charitable Foundation; the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation and the University of Maryland, College Park Campus.

Karen has also illustrated two story books. One for the Piscataway Indians of Maryland and one a story she created herself for children.