To Be From The Same Tree

Rydel Cerezo

2019 - Ongoing

In Sara Ahmed’s text “A phenomenology of whiteness”, the notion of bodies being seen or felt ‘not at home’ in a Western ‘white’ world, devolves and considers how metaphors of familiarity are made up on the basis of likeness. In this way, “a particular version of race and a particular version of a family” is consequently perpetuated. If we are to think of ‘family’ as an institution, what does it mean to introduce a ‘foreign’ body to it?

Drawing from literature and photo album making, “To Be From The Same Tree” seeks to probe this phenomenon through the act of remembering, retelling and remaking. Filipino born artist Rydel Cerezo tenderly points his lens towards his Belgian partner’s family to reflect on the position of power in constructing, continuing, and discovering historical crossovers seemingly apart from his own. Initially, they learned that their Spanish and Dutch last names shared the same meaning – cherry tree. Unearthed in the process of making this work is Cerezo’s family history with Catholic Belgian missionaries and a coincidence that a relative of his partner happened to be one of the missionaries. “To Be From The Same Tree” uses the ‘family album’ as a point of departure in addressing cultural disorientation and racial entanglement while combining moments that testify love as a process of understanding.

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