Born Again Babaylan
Born Again Babaylan

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Myth of Progress
Myth of Progress

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Ablation
Ablation

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Born Again Babaylan
Born Again Babaylan

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ART

EXPERIENCE

EDUCATION

EDUCATION

EDUCATION

I explore ideas at the intersection of earth, history, embodiment, mysticism, ancestry and spirituality. My upbringing in Alaska, has informed a deep connection to my home and the earth. Throughout my life, I’ve sought wisdom held in natural elements such as ice and rock.  From a Filipina/Angle-Scots American heritage, my work seeks to liberate, re-member history and facilitate growth through navigating and examining decolonization, resilience and the complexities of a mixed-race experience. 

Solo and group exhibits, murals, NFTs

BFA in visual art with an emphasis in painting & drawing

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BEKAH BADILLA

Myth of Knowledge

Spray painted and hand-painted indoor mural 

14’ x 29’

2021| Private Commission by Tech Client

 

Myth of Knowledge

MURAL

Artist | Concept through Installation

ROLE

WORK

"Myth of Knowledge" 

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"Myth of Knowledge" explores our relationship with the idea of knowledge. What questions arise when we challenge Eurocentric value systems as they relate to knowledge, education and information? How do we define these terms? Who and what holds knowledge? How does our perception of knowledge inform systems of power and oppression? How does the knowledge of Black, Indigenous and People of Color differ from that of Eurocolonial knowledge? How have these influenced U.S. educational institutions, curriculums, technology and research? 

 

In this piece, I drew conceptual inspiration from the native Paiute tribe’s accounts of Coyote drawings across the northwest of Turtle Island. These ancient drawings are considered sacred and often reside in valleys, caves, or other thresholds—sometimes near water sources or important landmarks. In the book Legends of the Northern Paiute, as told by Wilson Wewa, he notes that “...one day these writings may have something to teach us; but, for now, that knowledge is asleep.”

 

Knowledge and information has not always been owned, gained, consumed or capitalized on. We must hold respect for the different sources of knowledge, honor those who impart it to us, listen closely for how lessons are revealed, and be patient—maybe even wait thousands of years until our descendants have the eyes and ears to understand the lessons.

 

In the mural, a young boy encounters a great ancestor embodied in obsidian, flora and other elements of the land. The boy crouches in respect and humility toward the matriarch, as opposed to portraying a more domineering, possessive or aggressive nature often associated with masculinity. Other symbols associated with femininity are incorporated, such as flowers, plants and warm colors, bringing a soft and calming presence to the piece. By dismantling what is commonly valued by our society in the gender of a boy or man, and instilling lessons from the matriarch, we bring into focus a new lense for recognizing knowledge—devoid of patriarchy, white supremacy and capitalism. The circuit boards represent a modern symbol of knowledge, information, and technology. They are incorporated with the matriarch and the land, re-associating Womxn of Color with nature and technology—simultaneously and inherently rejecting the duality between the two.

 

This piece is one of two in my Myth Series, and fits among my other work in questioning the role of colonization in our value systems, particularly as part of the US American nation state, from a lense of de-colonial thought and revolutionary matriarchy. How do we look at the fabric of our paradigm and use these lessons to become aware, shift and re-member the values of the Indigenous self and the wisdom of the old universe? Visually, the piece was inspired by obsidian fields of Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco land (A.K.A Central Oregon), as well as the sagebrush, catmint, and other flora of the area. Included is the Baybayin (Pilipino native script) that I use throughout my work, which reads “Lilipas din ito”, translating to “This too will pass.” 

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Born Again Babaylan 

"Born Again Babaylan" 

Artist | Concept through Installation

ROLE

WORK

MURAL

In collaboration with the High Desert Equality and Justice Mural Festival, "Born Again Babaylan" piece continues the dialogue regarding the Eurocentric value of "progress" that I began to explore with the mural, “Myth of Progress.” I ended up swapping these two names. After diving deeper into my Myth Series—the names seemed more appropriate this way. 

In this piece I wanted to move away from the problematic linear paradigm of “progress” and lean more into the values of my ancestors: cyclicality, reflection, preservation, restoration, healing, surviving, thriving, re-membering, revealing etc. Especially when it comes to justice—which is concerned with acknowledging and reconciling atrocities of the present and past and removing the systems in place to literally preserve the lives of Black and Brown people. Justice, liberation, equality, equity etc. are not nice "values" we all need to create a utopian future, they are a means to an end for BIPOC. They are necessary for our survival and our thriving. What was on my mind the most with this piece, is that justice begins with healing. Re-membering the histories of our families (the good and the bad), especially how patriarchy, white supremacy and capitalism have manifested throughout history and have deeply wounded us and mother earth. We have to reconcile these on a deeper more multi-faceted level—with our families, ancestors, communities, bodies, minds, spirits, and the land. Action is a given, how do we further embody justice and transform?

Melting out of the glacial ice is the spirit of a Babaylan and her descendants. Babaylan refers to the naming for a matriarchal leader, spirit guide and warrior prevalent in pre-colonial Philippines. The Babaylan is embodied in the ice, changing, shifting and eternally offering knowledge and guidance not through elitism and brute force but through spirituality, mysticism and ancestral strength. The values inherited from the Babaylan hold no consequential utility or materiality, and often carry no weight by American standards. Yet, it’s this same reason they have the power to transcend the linear and shed light on the nature of our present circumstances.

 

We see here three submerged womxn in ice and water, with the Babaylan re-manifesting with each generation. The vertical stacking of the womxn challenges the viewer to tilt their head and literally change their physical perception. Often the assumptions of what is good or beneficial to Black Indigenous and People of Color, such as assumptions as to what is just, equal and helpful to these communities is based on the view of the colonizer, even down to the very perception of time and history. We have to challenge these assumptions in society as a whole through listening to communities of color, re-membering his{her}story, and learning from the wisdom therein. 

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WORK

Artist | Concept through installation

ROLE

Mural “Myth of Progress”

Myth of Progress

MURAL

As history continues to be rewritten, science deepens age-old mysteries and violence and oppression persist in our society—the idea of “American progress” reveals its elusive nature as an ever-moving target trapped in linear time. In this piece, Badilla combines symbols of past, present and future—making the linear construct of time obsolete. Melting out of the glacial ice is the spirit of a Babaylan, a matriarchal leader, spirit guide and warrior prevalent in pre-colonial Philippines. The Babaylan embodies both technology and nature, offering knowledge and guidance not through elitism and brute force but through spirituality, mysticism and ancestral strength. A young girl is shown edified by her lineage and empowered to fight the battles of her time. The values inherited from the Babaylan hold no consequential utility or materiality, and often carry no weight by American standards. Yet, it’s this same reason they have the power to transcend the linear and shed light on the nature of our present circumstances.

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Ablation

"Ablation" Solo Exhibition

Artist | Video/sound, drawing/painting & installation

ROLE

WORK

“Daunted by the immensity of my geological elders and intrigued by the strangeness of it all, I sought to uncover the humanity within them. As I observed the way glaciers have ablated, the way mountainsides have eroded into sand, I saw one of the purest forms of the human experience—loss.”— Badilla | Artist Statement

Through my experiences growing up in Alaska near an icefield and subsequently guiding people through these magnificent geological wonders, I began to see how loss surrounds us. The meeting of the edge of a mountain and the beginning of a glacier is pure chaos, but the process brings life and needed minerals to the ocean. It’s violent—suggesting the true nature of growth is rooted in the conflict of opposing forces. It is the ablation of our existence that is the substance of our purpose.

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SOLO EXHIBITION
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GALLERY