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How Mali Lost Her Accent, 1991
The paintings of Philippine artist Pacita Abad are strongly influenced by her Phillippino background and her world travels. She works in a style combines expressive painting with the technique of trapunto (made by quilting and sewing pieces of patterned fabric). The immigrant experience is presented in crayon-like colors and a simple style that suggest a child's point of view. Abad is famous for two large mixed media works, "How Mali Lost Her Accent" and "I Thought the Streets Were Paved with Gold".
In How Mali Lost Her Accent, Pacita urges caution to the ladder-climbing of many Asian Americans. A fashionable Asian schoolgirl stands among images of Ivy League schools and computers; but the portrait hides behind a confusing drizzle.
Raised in a politically active family, Pacita was a law student at the University of Philippines when herÊ involvement in anti-Marcos demonstrations forced her to flee the country.She supported herself as a seamstress and typist in California while studying Asian history. After graduating in 1972, she traversed Asia with her future husband, drawing and painting through thirty nations. Once married, she moved with her husband's assignments from international agencies, living in Paris, New York, Bangladesh, Thailand, and the Sudan. In Asia and Africa, she became fascinated with indigenous art and crafts that reminded her of those of her homeland. The bright colors and rich patterns of her more abstract paintings are also influenced deeply by her world travels.