JASMINE ORPILLA is a multiplicitous Ilokana/x-American vocal performance artist and operatic composer of experimental theatrical sound installations, in which she activates her lifelong practices of folk ritual dance, combat systems and music of the Philippine diaspora, against the contemporary American framing of the 1st-generation, imperialist military culture of her own childhood. Unlimited by “soprano” nor so-called classical beauty, her unfiltered voice-in-motion exorcizes eurocentric performance structures from her muscle memory, while remaining accountable to the oral legacies and languages of the Indigenous musical systems she, her family and community remains indebted to.* With decades embodying center with her energetically intensive solo practice as a multi-instrumental and multilingual writer/performer, Jasmine Orpilla’s work serves to humanize and honor the intersectionality of the Filipina-American body in agency, despite any ongoing minimization of colonial history’s misinformed narratives.
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-generationally impacted stories preserved in each 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.