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Born in Manila in 1972, Eliseo Art Silva is a contemporary multimedia artist who weaves his Filipino heritage into his art, fostering community connection and compassionate interaction. His art gives voice to historically marginalized groups, celebrating diversity and the interconnectedness of our global community, while also highlighting the often-ignored depth of the art, heritage, and history of the Philippines.

Silva is renowned for designing Talang Gabay-Our Guiding Star: the Eastern Gateway to Historic Filipinotown, and for his seminal Gintong Kasaysayan Filipinotown mural. This iconic piece of public art honors Filipino Americans as catalysts of the 1965 Delano Grape Strike (the first to advocate for Larry Itliong as a household name) and has been recognized by the Smithsonian as "bold and daring." LA Weekly lists it among "20 iconic murals of Los Angeles."

At 17, after graduating with full honors from the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) and receiving a Gold Medal as the most outstanding visual artist, Silva migrated to the United States. In 1995, he earned a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, where he was a Getty Museum Internship Arts Fellow and mentored by Judy Baca, a National Medal of the Arts recipient.

Silva obtained his MFA in 2003 from the Maryland Institute College of Art, studying under Grace Hartigan and Dominique Nahas. He was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant and a full scholarship for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Residency. His accolades include the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts, an Award of Design Excellence from the City of LA Department of Cultural Affairs, the Nehru Gold Medal in India, Letran College's Grandes Figuras Outstanding Alumni Award (Manila, Philippines), Riverside City College's Roaring Tiger Award for Inspirational Leadership, and a Purchase Award from Liquitex Paints/Binney and Smith.

Silva's work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions both domestically and internationally, including at prestigious venues like the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

He has also exhibited at the Honolulu Academy of Art Museum, the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, the Painted Bride Art Center (Philadelphia), CUE Art Gallery (New York), Piramide Cultural Center (Mexico), Nehru Gallery (India), Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Plug-In Gallery (Canada) and the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles).

He authored "Filipinos of Greater Philadelphia" (Arcadia Publishing, 2012) and has resided on the US East Coast for 15 years and the US West Coast for 17 years.

Silva began constructing his Art Studio and Art School in the Philippines in 2021, splitting his time between Manila and Los Angeles.

His contributions to Filipino America are evident in several legacy projects that have become historical touchstones and cultural landmarks: 
1) The Philippines' PH Centennial Float Entries for the Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA (1997 and 1998), both of which won the coveted International Trophy.
2) The Unidad Park & Community Garden in Historic Filipinotown.
3) The Western and Eastern Gateways of Historic Filipinotown.
4) The Larry Itliong memorial mural in Delano, CA.
5) The Carlos Bulosan memorial mural in Seattle, WA.
6) The ceiling and wall murals, and four paintings for the Philippine Nationality Room at the University of Pittsburgh, PA.
7) The Philippine Masters Collection at the Mabuhay Credit Union in Carson, CA.
8) The Shrine for Filipino Saints at St. Columban Filipino Catholic Church in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles, CA.
9) The Uncle Bob Santos Place mural in Chinatown ID, Seattle, WA.
10) The Filipino American History & Migration murals in Los Angeles, Seattle, Sacramento, and Philadelphia.


Additionally, the unveiling of the Gintong Kasaysayan Filipinotown mural on October 21, 1995, was the very first Larry Itliong Day celebration in the United States.

Silva is the founding president of FANHS-PA (Filipino American National Historical Society- Pennsylvania Chapter), Events Coordinator for Gawad Kalinga Pennsylvania, co-founder of both the Larry Itliong Day Committee (LIDC) and the Larry Itliong Day Philippines Campaign (LIDPC), and a board member of the Board of Directors of Filam Arts (the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture).

                                                Artist Statement

My enduring passion for art encompasses painting and community-driven participatory approaches to urban design and public art. I am convinced that art is an unparalleled medium for documenting communities, offering a potent channel for them to connect, prosper, and blossom within urban landscapes. It encourages everyone to take that initial step towards empathetic engagement.

The aspiration of my artistry is to reconcile the history of my lineage with the history of painting. By narrowing the gap between worlds such as the human and the divine; through artistic techniques such as: palimpsest, magic realism, surrealism, and automatism in painting, we capture cultural vibrancy. This is achieved when marginalized images and voices—often ignored and invisible—alter our viewpoint from mere observers to engaged participants, turning the amphitheater into a stage and the spectacle into an interactive experience. This notion draws inspiration from Jeremy Bentham's panopticon, further explored by Michel Foucault in his 1975 work, Discipline and Punish.

My creations spotlight the obscured and forgotten, uncovering the structures meticulously crafted to dictate the flow and reception of power, subjugation, control, objectification, dehumanization, erasure, and influence.

My work explores the divide between barbarism and civilization, savagery and citizenship. By employing artifacts from diverse cultures, my art infuses them with new life through palimpsest, crafting layers and hybrids that suggest, obscure, and hint at new meanings, worlds, and stories. Starting with my own dreams, memories or personal photographs, I embark on an exploration that is both intimate and collective, probing my individuality as a migrant artist persistently examining and questioning my "Filipino Identity" within the Western Canon of painting, juxtaposing the polarities of art and culture from my "country," both at home and abroad.

In my studio practice, I delve into deciphering: (a) cryptic modes of personal and communal expression and the ways in which suppressed cultures reclaim their identity amidst a backdrop of oppression; as well as (b) how diverse cultures showcase their heritage—from ancient cultural landmarks and natural marvels to modern public markets and even toys. By portraying memory and familial ties through a process that crystallizes knowledge in an intimate manner versus broadcasting information on a public platform, my studio and public art have discovered a harmonious intersection and a unified voice.

Despite being on "temporary detour" in the United States for over thirty years, I consider myself as a Filipino in the global diaspora, and not a Filipino American, preferring to keep my Filipino passport and will always remain a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.

By surfacing "The Filipino Story", reversing the narrative of colonization by positioning the narrative of the Philippines and Filipino Americans as a focal event with protagonists designed to/and intended to become widely recognized figures, Filipino aesthetics, chronicles, and tales undergo a vital transformation towards more visibility, relevance, value, and engagement.



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