Thursday, October 13, 2011

Filipino American History Month Painting of the Day: "How Mali Lost Her Accent" by Pacita Abad

'How Mali Lost Her Accent' by Pacita Abad
Women Artists of Color: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook to 20th Century Artists in the Americas summarizes this 1991 painting by Pacita Abad (1946-2004):
Abad notes: "When Mali came here she didn't speak English, but when I saw her recently I said, 'Mali, how come you lost your accent?' She replied. This is how the kids talk in school.' She has to do it because she has to blend in." Here Mali, a young Laotian and Vietnamese girl wearing a Benetton purse, is depicted in the center of the work; surrounding her are computers and the banners and facades of renowned American universities such as Harvard, University of California at Berkeley, and Yale. Mali clearly has "made it" in America; nevertheless, Abad underscores that the educational opportunities offered her have a steep price: Mali's loss of her language and culture.

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