La Union’s Khim Hipol wins Canada travel award for Filipino identity photos

Khim Hipol Canada travel award
Filipino student Khim Hipol is among this year’s recipients of the Audain Travel Award which provides $7,500 to young artists in university-level programs. Photos from Khim Hipol via Instagram, ECU.

La Union-born Khim Hipol has won the prestigious Audain Travel Award for his photography which explores the complicated Filipino national identity amid the history of colonization in the Philippines.

The 21-year-old Filipino national student at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Canada is among this year’s recipients of the annual award which comes with a travel grant to fund students’ excursions to view art.

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Vancouver-based Hipol will use the prize to travel home to the Philippines to research “colonial history and decolonization,” according to a news release posted on his alma mater’s website.

The contemporary artist’s winning works are from his photographic series called “Anak ng Lupang Hinirang” (Child of the Chosen Land), which uses the body and other symbolic objects “tied to Filipino national identity to capture a profound and intense feeling of patriotism and nationalism”.

Hipol describes his work’s historical references: “The Philippine flag, the panuelo, reflects the legacy of the Spanish Colonizers. The Crown symbolizes beauty pageants which come from the influence of the American colonizers, reinforcing Western beauty standards.”

The Canada-based artist from the Philippines then relates the historical backdrop of the creation of Filipino national identity: “These objects, integrated with the body, pay homage to Filipino national identity and employ the conventions of familiar tropes of this identity to rearticulate and question each icon and the histories it bears.”

Hipol and four other recipients of the Audain Travel Award were honored at an awards ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in late September 2022.

Supported by the Audain Foundation and administered by its partners from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and Okanagan, University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the Audain Travel Award provides $7,500 to young artists enrolled in a full-time fine arts program at the undergraduate or graduate level, to encourage travel to view art.

The Audain Foundation also annually awards the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, one of Canada’s most prestigious honors.

Filipinos promoting art for a worthwhile cause include Bricx Martillo “ShrimpPaste” Dumas who won first place in the global DigitalArt4Climate competition and these young artists who raised funds to support the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Philippines’ water conservation and reforestation efforts in the Ipo Watershed.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Filipino student Khim Hipol for winning the prestigious Audain Travel Award for his work which explores the complicated history of colonization in the Philippines.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.