Hello APC, and my beautiful people! My name is Ava Rose Ragasa and I am an 18-year-old artist from San Francisco, California. Ever since my birth, I have always adored all elements of art and design. Growing up I’d create paper towel dresses for my barbies, draw fruit-inspired dresses, and create all kinds of artwork!
Through my upbringing, I’ve been inspired to implement my Filipino-American culture into my art. I wanted to create artwork that celebrated my background and multicultural identity. As a queer Asian American woman growing up in the U.S, I struggled a lot with my identity, trying to find where I belonged. This struggle may be the case for many multicultural people. To Filipinos, I was too American, and to Americans, I was “too Filipino.” Through those feelings of sadness, insecurity, and confusion from not knowing where I belonged, I began to reflect on why I felt this way. Through self-reflection, education, and advocacy, I finally felt secure in my beautiful identity. I was able to implement these powerful emotions into my artwork.
I dream to one day create an all inclusive line of a modern twist on the traditional Philippine wear called Filipinaña. My favorite Filipinaña ensemble is called a terno, a traditional dress known for its large “butterfly” like sleeves. I’ve seen people in my generation want to wear traditional outfits to celebrate their culture, but find they aren’t as accessible as they should be. I want to change this.
The mixed media piece titled “I Am Enough,” celebrates my Filipino American identity. When painting this piece, I thought to keep the girl’s hair black so she appeared “more Filipino.” I stopped and questioned myself why I thought that. My memories took me back to a Filipino party I attended with my extended family in December of last year. A distant Tita (aunt) of mine saw my pink hair and took a strand between her fingers, commenting in disgust, “Anak, (child) you look so Americanized now. What happened?” I felt hurt by her comment and it plagued me for many days. I agreed with her that I looked American, as I was born in San Francisco, California. “It’s just hair,” I thought. It was my pink hair that I loved, and it didn’t make me any less Filipino. The pink haired girl is in a stylized baby blue terno, her butterfly like sleeves adorned with a Philippine tribal inspired pattern. Behind her are two halves of a flag of the Philippines and the American flag. I combined acrylic paint along with digital design in creating this piece.
“Neon Dreamz” highlighter marker and ballpoint pen drawing.
“The Palace Hotel” As the middle child of two florists, I learned the art of flower arrangement. This black and white piece was created during Inktober in 2019. I sketched a flower arrangement my family created for a gala at the famous Palace Hotel in San Francisco. I strongly recommend everyone to visit this gorgeous hotel! Its history and architecture are unique.