The drawings often are used as a perspective into the artist’s world to attract attention to the societal problem. Point of Departure by Jenifer Wofford became the painting combination that narrates the story of Filipino nurses and immigration. The following artwork is complemented by a deep understanding of the Philippines’ nursing and immigration history that the podcast Filipinos in the Nursing Industry gives. It highlights the topic of Filipino nursing and supports it with research that allows to better connect with the art collection Point of Departure.
Point of Departure is a collection of 40 small paintings by Jenifer Wofford. The author is a San Francisco-based artist and educator on the issue of migration and authenticity [Wofford, 2007]. Wofford focused explicitly on the daily life of a Filipina nurse and her struggles as a cultural representative. The imagery often suggests an abstract, allowing the audience to interpret the picture and the story itself.
The podcast Filipinos in the Nursing Industry features an interview of the historian and an author of Empire of Care, Catherine Choy. She shares her opinion on migration and nursing in Filipino American history and provides astonishing statistics. She states that almost one out of four employed Filipino women in the U.S. works as a registered nurse [This Filipino American Life Podcast, 2017]. This information increases the understanding of drawing Classroom by Wofford – the women sitting in the nursing class are all Filipino [Wofford, 2007]. Moreover, the podcast gives an explanation of this fact from the cultural perspective as an aftermath of U.S. colonization. The imposed nursing training left a significant mark on the Filipino nation, making them a commodity to the U.S. colonial structure. This struggle is well portrayed through the pieces Bed Suitcase and Nurse Falling [Wofford, 2007]. The podcast speaker explains how framed and objectified Filipino nurses are, which has a detrimental cultural and mental effect. It describes how a racialized struggling woman feels entangled in Tangle and falling apart in Unravel [Wofford, 2007].
The paintings supported by the podcast explains the ground for the cultural struggle portrayed in the drawing. The research gives an overview of the issue, while art is explanatory itself by using vivid images and abstractions. Thus, the pieces of art and podcast combine harmonically through a common culturally defined topic of Filipino nurses’ struggle as an effect of colonization and objectification.
Nailat M. (Producer). (2017-present). Filipinos in the Nursing Industry [Audio Podcast]. This Filipino American Life Podcast.
Wofford, Jenifer K. 2007. Point of Departure. San Francisco, CA: Wofflehouse Editions.