•¡• Perlas Ng Silanganan •¡• Pearl of the Orient

A Post/Colonial And De/Colonial Filipino Graphic Design Maximal Manifesto

I began writing this Text as a Space for myself to interrogate Colonial Systems and Rules of graphic design, as well as to question how I can engage in a Post/De/Colonial Filipino Design Practice. In doing this research and work, I have come to see this Maximal Manifesto as much More than that; it is the accumulation of thought on my experience as a Filipino who is now based in the United States, as well as my understanding of how Philippine Colonial history has affected and continues to permeate in Post/Colonial Philippines. In publicly sharing this work, I invite you to view this text as an Offering. For my Filipino/Filipino American audience, I hope that this work is able to provide you with the necessary tools to ARTICULATE our Culture in ways that do not necessarily pander to Western Eurocentric Colonial Frameworks of Making. In our act of producing work that we instinctively know is Filipino, is a Perlas; in creating Work that overtly challenges the Eurocentric Canon of Art and Design; in pulling from our own Filipino references and Vernaculars rather than Misinterpreting those of our Colonizers; in seeing the rich and inherent value in our Multifaceted Filipino Culture; in producing Work that is Bad but overwhelmingly Functional, Accepted, and Celebrated in the Filipino setting; in refusing to forget the legacies of U.S. and Spanish Colonization and addressing such Amnesia in our Work; this is how we Decolonize our Practice and Frameworks of thought.
If you are not Filipino/Filipino American, and happen to be a descendant of my Colonizer, I invite you to reference this Text as a way of Deconstructing and Questioning how you Function under and benefit from the current Systems of Oppression promoted by the U.S. Colonial Empire. I implore you to question; how does the valuing of a Single Canon of Design purposefully keep out the Voices of the most Marginalized? How does the C/Overt push for Eurocentric Frameworks of Making prevent Post/Colonial Minority Artists from developing their own Unique Voice, even if said Voice is not understood by you (hint: it’s not for you!)? How can you similarly Decolonize your own Practice and Frameworks of thought in an Act of Solidarity to Marginalized Designers? How can you widen your scope of thinking to be inclusive of all Design Voices, even if you do not necessarily understand these Voices? How can you, as a Settler Occupying Stolen Land, use (or rather, not use) your Voice to center new Decolonial Frameworks?
Post/De/Colonial Filipino graphic design is for everyone; for the Filipino/Filipino American attempting to RE/ARTICULATE and understand their own Post/Colonial Culture, for other Post/Colonial Minority Artists struggling to ARTICULATE the effects of Colonization, and even for Colonizers who now must grapple with the consequences of their history of Violence on the Filipino.

About The Author

Hello, I’m Javier Syquia. This website and text was produced for my Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Graphic Design B.F.A. Degree Project. Please reference this text as an open resource for post/de/colonial theory, coming from a distinctly Filipino lens. To read more explicitly about my background and positionality to this topic, please see the COGNITIVE JUSTICE section. If you’d like to chat, reach out to me via instagram direct message @javi.s.gd.

This text was originally designed to be as printed zines. The zine packs are being produced in limited batches. The first run of 24 zine packs was produced on 05/2021, and is currently out of stock. Please check back for updates on the next run. This website exists as the online, accessible, and free version of the zine pack.

I want to explicitly state that this text was written from 11/2020—03/2021, and was the beginning of my own decolonial process. There are parts of the text, as well as some language (i.e., the use of the term “vernacular” and utilizing binary arguments of West v.s. East) that no longer completely and accurately reflect my beliefs. I have purposefully decided to not change such language in the text, as a way of reflecting my personal evolution of thought as I continue to decolonize my thinking and practice. I believe that publishing is reflective of the time in which the text was written. In my case, even if my own thinking has evolved in a matter of months, I still look back on this text as a marker of my beliefs at the very beginning of my decolonial process. I invite you to keep up with me and my future publishing as a way to continually challenge previous (and current) concepts that you or I may hold. 


Delivered in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Class of 2021 Capstone Presentations on June 3, 20

Zine Packs

Contact @javi.gd.s for sale inquiries