Portable Landmark

On an unseasonably warm mid-March evening, Janna Añonuevo Langholz spoke to a crowded hall at the Bard Graduate Center about “ways of being within an environment that has been destroyed.” As a Filipino American artist who surfaces forgotten—and often suppressed—histories in public space, Langholz isn’t without company: The designer Cheyenne Concepcion built a temporary monument to St. Malo, a nineteenth-century Filipino settlement in Louisiana, at Astoria’s Socrates Sculpture Park in 2022, and Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts, a grassroots group in Woodside, has a handful of placemaking projects in the area. But Langholz’s work as “caretaker” of the Philippine Village, the site of a forty-seven-acre ethnographic exhibition that was part of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, is of special importance to me, not least for its forensic quality. In addition to archiving and documenting the lives of the 1,200 Filipinos who were part of the exhibit, Langholz goes in search of the unmarked graves of those who died during the seven-month-long fair. Sometimes the burial sites…

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