Life and Practice
Isma is an artist who works across creative writing, research, digital art, photography, modelling and performance. She is under the University of the Philippines Los Banos BA Communication Arts Program and majored in writing while frequently exploring creative nonfiction on personal narratives about the family dynamics of being a Filipino woman. She has self-published a few zines and collaborating with other fellow artists and writers in local Los Baños art scenes and events such as ELBIKON, WiSiK, and Zine Orgy. Her research paper on Duterte has been presented in the 3rd Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Conference, while her photos taken by Lec Alexis have been exhibited in the Para Po? Para Po! Online Exhibit. She is currently working as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.
Displacement among loved ones, as a struggle, while not limited only to queers, is highly representative of queer experiences and traumas in life. As LGTBQIA+ causes and progress in society continues to be made and surely, there are less and less of us everyday having to deal with this but we still have a long way to go. The collection that I have written is ultimately an exploration of how one queer person struggles with displacement but is equally stuck in between leaving and staying within the home. It’s a picture painted of how complicated family life can be: how do you struggle resenting the home and family that have raised you, protected you, and provided for you? How do you keep on loving the place that represses you, makes you feel different, and wants you to just be like everyone else? While this collection doesn’t have all (barely, if any) the answers, to my fellow queers I offer one thing: validity to whatever experience you go through as the person that you are.
As I was writing this, I was asked during a workshop what makes this story queer and any different from a straight person writing it because it lacked any mention or centrality to the struggles of my sexuality. And to this question I eventually came to the conclusion that it is queer simply because I am and my experiences in life is patterned as such. I wrote this collection as an exploration of my identity and my feelings of displacement both at home and in communities as I don’t fit neatly into the box of what people expect me to be. It is in the process of writing and interrogating my own narrative that I’ve found a clearer idea of what it means to be queer to me, and that I simply am regardless of anyone else’s understanding. This project was a journey: both in my home life and the conclusions that I was drawing over an ongoing struggle in my life, and my identity and place in the world.
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