MUKHA: An Interview with Photographer Arianne Solis

Published on .

By Joann Chloe Correa

 
 

Who are the Filipino youth? Where are they? Twenty-four year old, amateur photographer Arianne Solis (AS) sought to answer these questions through her debut exhibit titled Mukha: Faces of Young Filipinos in Winnipeg. Raised in the Philippines and living in Canada for more than half a decade, Arianne was made aware of the different identities that the Filipino youth project to the larger Canadian society through her experiences as an immigrant and as a student. Now she presents these identities to us as captured by her camera. Her exhibit features 15 portraits of young Filipinos from every background telling the viewer who they are and what they do to put a face on a group of people that seemingly lack the collective identity that binds them together. Arianne shares with this writer (JC) and Pilipino Express (PE) the inspiration and her experiences while putting together this project.

JC/PE: Mukha, I believe, is the first of its kind here in Winnipeg, at least. There is a lot of possible themes for a first exhibit, what inspired you to make this one? Why the youth?

AS: When we read the local Filipino newspapers we really do not hear much about the younger people, both newcomers and Canadian-born, so I thought, “Where are the young Filipino people in this city?” From this question it triggered several other questions so I decided that I could explore this issue by talking to young people. Hence this exhibit was born.

JC/PE: Who were your subjects? How did you choose them?

AS: My subjects are young Filipinos between the ages of 16-35. I initially thought of looking for younger subjects, but then when I started doing the interviews I ended up asking more socially or psychologically related questions that I don’t think an eight-year-old child can answer so I narrowed down my age range. 

JC/PE: Did you have any interesting experiences while taking the portraits?

  

AS:  I think the most interesting experience is to get to know the subjects more than just their names and their faces. I work and volunteer with some of them, but most of the time discussions about immigration, social observations, among other things, I just reserve to my close friends. It’s really enlightening to know that there are young people who are concerned about the things I usually talk and take notice of, and that’s a good thing.

JC/PE: What do you want your audience to think about upon exiting the gallery? What do you want them to bring home with them?

AS: I want my young audience to be inspired. When they see my subjects and read some of their stories, I want them to feel that they can do amazing things too; that they are just like them and they can do so much better.

For the rest of the visitors I want them to realize that young people are capable of something great. It is also one way to look at the trend of immigration and see the fruits of this system. For the parents I want them to see that these are their children and if their reason why they migrated is to give them a better future then they have succeeded because these young people never failed them.

The Mukha: Faces of Young Filipinos in Winnipeg exhibit will run from the 8th of April to the 21st at the Edge Gallery (611 Main St.) The gallery is open weekdays from 12.30 PM to 4.30 PM. Admission is free. For more information please visit www.derpinsel.com.

Joann Chloe Correa received her BA Hons in Psychology at the University of Manitoba in 2010. She is currently working for the Society of Manitobans with Disabilities.