Beltran - These Stamps Mark My Body

Reian Beltran

These Stamps Mark My Body

A lot of my work is created through the lens of my experiences as a woman, a Filipino immigrant, and a human being navigating through the persistent expectations placed on us dictating the ways we are allowed to exist. I question systems and ideals in society that limits an individual’s autonomy. Through my art, I allow people to relate and reflect on their own participation with policing and standards.

As a person of Filipino descent who has lived in 4 countries, I have multiple works created in response to my experience traversing the borders of these countries and how they have shaped my identity. My passport is the object through which I investigate this journey partaking in the process of migration and immigration. Specifically, the entry and exit stamps that mark the pages of my passport are details that pervade in a lot of the work I create. These stamps not only reveal the control over global movement, but also acts as documentation tracing my existence in these different places.

These Stamps Mark My Body speaks on the feeling of displacement and disconnection with my physical and cultural identity. The constant movement in and out of countries have significantly impacted my sense of belonging in communities. I am pulled in and out of contemporary cultural contexts happening within these different places, which thus impacts my understanding of and interaction with society. My relationship between myself and my physical body has also been affected by the constant change of expectations and beauty standards, completely dependent on the culture that surrounds me. This piece seeks to tackle both disconnections I’ve felt within myself by drawing connections between the two to reconcile and understand the way I perceive myself.