An iconic Filipino cultural object, the balikbayan box, is filled with foreign brand products meant to connect the Filipino diaspora back to their loved ones in the Philippines. Growing up in Manila, one of the most Westernized countries in Asia, l realized how ironically enough, the Other man’s values continue to be brought back to my culture. To this day, Filipinos unconsciously look to Western ideals and people—we idolize foreigners, whiten our skin to attain more Eurocentric features, judge those based on their fluency in English, and leave our country in search of better opportunities as a result of over 365 years of colonization.
Little Brown Box aims to use design as a lens to examine these manifestations of internalized colonization as speculative cures and spark discussion on reconstructing what the Filipino identity is. Are we only perpetuating being colonizers of our own people?
Una Gil is a Filipina visual communication designer whose practice uses design as a tool to speculate and explore the realms of culture and identity. Her work revolves around publication design, print media, illustration, and design for social change.