JASMINE ORPILLA is an Ilokana/x-American performance artist and operatic composer of experimental theatrical sound installations, in which she activates her living traditional practices of dance, music and family rituals from the Philippine diaspora, within the contemporary, yet ever-eroding frame of her own 1st-generation schism from both imperialist history and the military culture of her childhood. Unlimited by “soprano,” nor any “romantic” notion of history and of beauty, she works at the full agency of her instruments, the unapologetic, acoustic human voice within a Filipina/x-American body fighting the inherited legacies of violence within. By dismantling the imposed Western ‘classical’ structures from her muscle memory, she lives in present awareness of the oral legacies and languages of the Indigenous musical systems she and her family remains indebted to.*
Jasmine Orpilla’s performance installations are intentionally and/or secretly embedded with materials from her own family archives such as portraiture, heirloom jewelry, clay pottery, rare hand-woven cloth, uniforms, medallions, defunct weaponry, soil, bone, gold, copper, hand-forged musical instruments and handwritten letters. Fragile materials that have survived wartime, she creates with them a kinetic, movement and sound-sensitive space in which to re-visit, elevate or question the inter-generational stories preserved in each kept object, while marking their decay over time in correlation to her voice and body.
Following intensive experience with world-renowned theatre and opera directors such as Ariane Mnouchkine at Théâtre du Soleil, and Peter Sellars, over the past 10 years Jasmine Orpilla has taken space, internationally performing in genre-defying voices at REDCAT, CAP UCLA, LACMA, Hauser & Wirth, Hammer Museum, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles, Kampnagel Hamburg, Germany, Theatre de La Villette Paris, France, HAU Hebbel Berlin, Germany, and more. Jasmine Orpilla’s solo and collaborative work has been supported by United Artists, California Arts Council/Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Durfee Foundation, the Mairie de Paris, France, and more.
Jasmine Orpilla’s art is personally based on the urgency of being one of the last knowledge bearers in her family. She continues to dedicate her latest works to the memory of her family from Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Baguio, Benguet and Asingan, Pangasinan. *She remains committed to supporting the human rights, ancestral lands, creative livelihoods and legacies of the Tausug of the Sulu archipelago, the Maguindanao and Maranao of Lake Lanao, the Indigenous groups and women of the Lumad, and the Igorot Indigenous groups throughout the Philippine Cordillera Administrative Region.
(above) In “How Many Years Did We Fight the Beast Together” by Jasmine Orpilla, ©2018. Photo credit: Carole Kim. (below) In “GO HOME: Where the Heart is. Feed my Heart. Free my Hate.” by Jasmine Orpilla, ©2019. Photo credit: King&Cub Media.