Carol Ann Apilado: Textile Practices of the Ilokano People of the Philippines
Posted: Mar 22nd, 2023 | Gathering

A few years ago, Carol Ann Apilado discovered that she belonged to a lineage of Ilokano weavers in the Philippines, where her family is from. This led her to embark on a fibre arts journey, teaching herself how to use a floor loom and learning traditional Ilokano weaving techniques. As she continued weaving and learning about her ancestors, Carol Ann began to appreciate how they are all connected through this beautiful and ancient craft. In this video below Apilado shares her story by responding to two woven pieces from Abra province in the Philippines [T86.0096 & T82.0073]. 

Below are the images of the pieces that inspired Apilado to create her response. Learn more about these pieces in our online collection by clicking on the live links below.

Blanket [T86.0096]
Asia: South East Asia, Philippines, Luzon area, Cordillera Administrative Region- Abra, 1925 – 1950
Gift of S. Markson to the Textile Museum of Canada

Loincloth [T86.0073]
Asia: South East Asia, Philippines, Luzon area, Cordillera Administrative Region- Apayao Province – Abra, 1925 – 1950
Gift of Simon Waegemaekers to the Textile Museum of Canada

Carol Ann Apilado is a visual artist, street art muralist and self-taught weaver based in Toronto. Her current practice focuses on intention-based design and public art installations that cultivate relationships and deep connection between nature and people. She is always asking the questions—how did we become so disconnected? how can we reconnect?   

Sharing the same animistic worldview as her Ilokano/Filipino ancestors, Apilado’s work also explores the sacred and spiritual essence of all things living/non-living, seen/unseen, and digital/non-digital. She is interested in bridging, integrating and finding balance between traditional practices and technological ways of making through her various artistic practices. 

This work is created as part of Gathering, the inaugural installation of our new Collection Gallery, featuring community stories told through our global collection. Grounded in community participation, the installation presents over 40 pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection of over 15,000 objects from around the world. Choices of objects, responses, and retellings were gathered via open online calls for reflection, through partnerships with local organizations, and through artists’ interventions. Gathering explores themes related to migration and diaspora, the search for comfort in the domestic and familial, reclamation of ancestral traditions through contemporary artistic responses, and the relationship between textiles and the environment. 

This video is part of a digital project generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now initiative.

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