Emplaced Narratives

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The representation and promotion of the identity of Albayano or Bikolano art is an odyssey embarked upon by the foremost curatorial platforms in the province of Albay, Philippines. An analysis of these institutions, however, points to a problematic lack of engagement with the communities that they deem to represent. Even among the communities of Albay, there is a seemingly great lack of awareness concerning these existing platforms of artistic and cultural expression. This is further complicated by the skewed notions of place, public, and art as they are understood by the existing curatorial platforms that are characterized by a strong tourism-oriented practice that oftentimes displays a homogenized view of communities. Informed by participatory and process-oriented modes of curatorial engagement anchoring on the three identified manifestations of local istorya (story)—as institutional history, as folklore, and as community voices, this study seeks to explore the roles and possibilities of creative practice and community mapping in the imaginings of a sense of place, of history, and of community. This study examines how to generate a workable framework and platform for the community to uniquely respond to these perceived gaps and handle the venture of identity-formation and placemaking.