STEPHANIE MISA

The installation, Sakada, examines Philippine- Hawaii relations at the turn of the 19th century while both were American Sovereign States.

Officially under American governance since the relinquishing of Spanish territories to the United States, the Philippine became a good source of uncapped labor for the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association (HSPA).Recruitement of Filipino laborers started slowly in 1906, reached its peak in 1923 (and would go on till 1946). These laborers who left for Hawaii were called Sakadas, a term derived from the Ilocano (a dialect of the Ilocos Region of Northern Philippines) phrase sakasakada amin, meaning, “barefoot workers struggling to earn a living”.

Cayetano Ligot, my grandmother’s father, was assigned the post as the first Resident Labor Comissioner to Hawaii. Ligot was fairly unpopular during his tenure as Resident Labor Comissioner, often accused as working for the interests of the HSPA versus assisting the Sakadas in their grievances. My grandmother grew up in this environment, in Hawaii, in the 1920’s later moving back to the Philippines in as a 23-year old married woman.

The installation weaves these intersecting narratives through family pictures, a video piece, a pressed vinyl record, and research material.

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