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Celebrate Filipino American History Month with us!

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

October is Filipino American History Month! It recognizes the historical contributions of Filipino and Filipino Americans and is celebrated in October to recognize the first arrival of Filipinos to America in on October 18th, 1587.

To celebrate, API Middle Tennessee has partnered with Ben Vitualla of Blend Studio to curate works from five Filipino artists exhibiting at Fido and Bongo East Café. You can check out the art throughout the month of October. You can also join us for a reception at Fido on October 4, 2023 from 6-9pm. Artists will be available on the opening and will have a Q&A Panel at 7pm.


More About the Gallery

The word Bahay is Tagalog for house in the Philippines. Author Carl Lorenz Cervantes describes the word Bahay as homes of people you care about. Bahay brings the artists together for the show who come from different parts of the world to bring their own story about their home experience and the people they care about.

Featured Artists

Ben Vitualla

Ben was born in Cebu, Philippines. In 1979 his family moved to United States. He received a BFA in studio art in University of Memphis and a MFA from Vermont Collage of Fine Arts. He is now living in Nashville, TN where his studio practice utilizes research as integral component on responding to crime prevention and awareness. His collaborative mixed media projects are created by using photography, sculpture, painting, and video. He was an adjunct professor at Austin Peay State University four 4 years. Ben has exhibited work regionally and nationally in Nashville Public Library, Nashville, TN, Material Art Space, Memphis, TN, Rawls Museum, Courtland, VA, and Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD.

Malaka Gharib

She is the author of "I Was Their American Dream," a graphic memoir published in 2019 about being first-generation Filipino Egyptian American, which won an Arab American Book Award in 2020. Then in 2022, she published "It Won't Always Be Like This," a graphic memoir about her summers in the Middle East.

By day, she works as a digital editor at NPR for Life Kit, a lifestyle podcast about health, finance, relationships and more. Her comics and writing have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Catapult, The Believer Magazine and The New Yorker. She has been profiled in The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Heather Moulder

Heather Moulder is a graphic designer, printmaker, and piano player from Woodbury, TN. In 2011 she earned her BFA in graphic design from Middle Tennessee State University, and since then she has worked for Hatch Show Print designing and printing letterpress posters. Heather also serves as White Oak Program Coordinator at the Arts Center of Cannon County, where she helps manage their gallery spaces and coordinates their long-running White Oak Craft Fair. She creates her own work, freelance design projects, and the occasional song at her home studio, Lordymercy.

Aimee Kristine Cericos Cedro

Dreamland REvisited ver.forever is a reimagined introspective work from quirky Filipina performance artist and *occasionally* Burlesque star, Grandmafun. With hints of dumb absurdity and mostly based on factual events, she imagines a world where humanity might have been kind to one another and celebrated distinct and unique perspectives, traditions and customs in this weird [ INSERT EXPLETIVE] thing we call life.

Giro Gabayoyo

Giro Yap Gabayoyo was born and raised in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. A self-taught artist, interior decorator, RN by profession and an avid traveler. After graduated from a degree of Bachelor’s Science of Nursing and passed his licensure in the Philippines, he migrated to USA 29 yrs ago. After living in different states , he settled here in Nashville. Currently employed in University of Vanderbilt Medical Center as an orthopedic / trauma nurse.

Giro works in mediums including oil, acrylic, and mixed media. His style of art evokes expressive Impressionism, abstract, still life, and landscapes. His love of nature, travel, and simple mundane things in life, translate into the colors and emotional brushstrokes of his work.

As a nurse and an artist, he is constantly challenged to deal with traumatic changes, recovery, and healing .Helping patients to deal with health issues reminds him as an artist that it’s ok to express oneself in fear, anger, or grief. For him, creating art provides him with comfort, peace of mind, and healing to balance his personal life with the world.


API Middle Tennessee's work is made possible through community support from people like you! If you would like to see more events like this in the future, consider making a donation today.

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