Maia Cruz Palileo

Valentina Buzzi, Plus Magazine, August 21, 2023

In the Filipino language, the word kwento refers to “story” or “telling a story.” Maia Cruz Palileo uses their canvases to tell the stories of their personal relationship with the Philippines, whether by painting close relatives or by reworking the characters of the photographs collected during archival research. We met Pailileo in their Brooklyn studio, where they were working on new bodies of work. “This residency came at the right time,” tells Palileo, “the windows create an amazing light, and the space is giving me a chance to work on a larger scale.” The stu-dio is indeed surrounded by grandiose-scale paintings, in which the figures are surround-ed by intricate configurations recalling the natural environments of the Philippines. The composition is dense, but looser than their previous works. It is an evolution that mirrors Palileo’s current approach to painting, born out of a progression in how the artist perceives their own relationship with the roots of their individual heritage and collective past.