Justine Macabasco

Sow Your Kultura

Bachelor of Design Publication Identity Narrative Inter-cultural

Sow Your Kultura explores and documents the idea of identity and cultural origin through preserved Filipino family heirlooms

What does it mean to be Filipino? “I’m Filipino” has been a phrase long overlooked by myself and others. For years, we have found difficulty in identifying our heritage due to the colonisation of Philippines by both Spain and the US. Ideas about culture, identity, and heritage are explored in this publication, focusing on Filipino family heirlooms that have been preserved in New Zealand particularly language, food, and personal belongings. There is importance in educating and encouraging the acknowledgement of cultural identity in a new environment because this is what will empower the maintenance of Filipino values throughout future generations.  ‘Sow Your Kultura’ serves as an opportunity to display the positive impact the preservation of culture can have on individuals and the long-sought for definition of being Filipino.

This project explores and documents preserved Filipino family heirlooms. Although I am a Filipino, I realised my knowledge about the origins and the historical background of the country as well as the culture was very limited. This seemed to be a challenge shared by other Filipinos as well– even the educated ones, due to a string of cultural colonisation by the Spanish and the US. This lack of understanding became the driving force behind my publication, which looked into the adaptation and the evolution of what we identify as Filipino today.

Sow Your Kultura aims to connect Filipinos with the Philippines, as it intends to encourage the re-discovery of familiar elements and correlate it to something back from the Philippines. This will hopefully create a sense of nostalgia, revive cultural values, and renew traditions despite being in a different country. Taking inspiration from jeepneys, cigarette packets, and signage, the bright colours and typography used in the publication represent the familiar scenes and visuals you would see on the streets of the Philippines.  The publication is also targeted towards individuals who may feel as though they have lost their connection to their Filipino roots and need to be reminded of what it looks and feels like to be Filipino.

The concertina-style binding technique is a significant part of the project, as this allows the reader to experience the book in three different ways, including reading front to back, backward, or with the spreads extended to view it as a large publication. The images that are incorporated throughout the book are representative of the stories that many Filipinos tell one another as they reminisce on life events, over food and drinks.

Sow Your Kultura is a fun, yet informational publication and is an opportunity to educate second-generation Filipino migrants about their country’s history and the implications it has had on the future of the Philippines and its people. It further gives light to the uniqueness of Filipino culture and the evolution it has undergone to become what it is today.