The exhibition’s title, “HALO-HALO,” refers to a popular dessert in the Philippines and means “mix-mix” or “mixed together” in the Filipino dialect, Tagalog. Fertakis creates prints that merge the use of color, the forms of Venn diagrams, and American idioms to explore ideas of diversity and inclusion in a very unique and personal way as a FIlipino-Greek-American.
In her show, Fertakis offers Venn diagrams as a visualization of different cultural identities to show how they can create a blended one. Accompanying the Venn diagrams, Fertakis incorporates text modifying American expressions that feature food to resonate with a fruit or dish that she had eaten in her youth and/or is popular in the Philippines. For instance, the American idiom "a piece of cake" becomes "a piece of mango.” The colors of the Venn diagrams allude to the Filipino fruit or dish she identifies in the expression noted.
“Growing up with Filipino food,” Fertakis shares, “I didn’t realize that my friends did not eat slices of ripe mango with shrimp paste for dessert. I loved it and still do to this day. Expressions like as American as apple pie didn’t make sense to me. My prints and adapted expressions convey what it means to me to be Filipino-American. I hope that whoever sees them either smiles because they are familiar with the Filipino food or becomes curious to find out what it is and tastes like.”
Curator Barbara Januszkiewicz observes that “Fertakis employs a simplicity of form while demonstrating incredible creative sophistication in her work. Here we witness the artist’s keen awareness of color, shape and design to convey her personal experience being the child of an immigrant Filipino mother growing up in the United States. The colors - some bold, some muted - are overlapping and coalesce into a new color. There is no distinction at this intersection of the colors, circles and idioms; they are one in the same. Fertakis is suggesting that what is American can also be Filipino and what is Filipino can also be American. Through these elements and the relationship that Venn diagrams communicate, Fertakis makes the seemingly uncommon, familiar.”
The exhibition will be on view 24/7, March 1 - April 7, 2018. There will be a meet the Artist Event on Sunday, March 25th, 1-3 pm.