Originally from Manila, Philippines, Matt Manalo creates work as an ongoing journal of experiences from his time living in the Philippines in juxtaposition to his life in the United States. At the age of 18, he and his family moved to the United States in pursuit of a better life. Although living in a city as diverse as Houston, he continues to reconcile his old life with his new life. Manalo states, “As an artist, I was looking for a tangible outlet to express my feelings, memories, and newfound experiences.” He is constantly redefining his definition of “home,” while struggling with memories from his homeland and the feeling of being split in two.
Matt’s work represents an abstracted image of a specific place or memory from home in the Philippines or surroundings in Houston. He incorporates repetitive marks, shapes, collage, stamped images, and scratch marks in his work. They signify the amount of “to and fro” with flashbacks that he has when making a piece. The physical or visual texture on the surface represents the grittiness of living in a city like Manila. Through his work, he has two very different stories to tell.