The Manila-born sculptor traces his roots in a new solo exhibit at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
By Robert Boyd
What inspires a person to become an artist? Ask Matt Manalo, and he’ll talk about the mural painters he remembers from his childhood in Manila. “I have this very vivid image of folks climbing scaffolding made of bamboo,” says the Philippines-born, now Houston-based artist. “They would be painting these giant movie posters, mural-size. I remember sitting back in the car in traffic watching these guys painting these figures and the titles of the movies. They did it so fast and so beautifully.”
Nineteen years ago, Manalo immigrated from the Philippines to the United States—specifically to the Houston neighborhood of Alief. He was 19 years old. Now 38, he’s officially spent half his life in the Philippines and half in the United States. Manalo examines his voyage from there to here in his sculptural installation “38,” part of his new solo exhibit Philippine-Made, currently on view at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.