‘Proclivities’: Stories from Kidapawan (An interview)
Yadu Karu: What is the inspiration behind this collection of short stories?
YK: Among the stories which one is your favorite and why?
YK: What do you mean by your first line in the introduction: "We are all victims of our histories"?
YK: You are an advocate of Mindanao Settler Literature. Can you explain what this is about especially to those who are not familiar with it.
YK: I noticed that your stories uses the local language specific to its setting. How does language define your story?
YK: Can you expound to us the Mindanawon critical theory of "Pakig-iniya."
YK: How do you encourage other writers from the region to write local stories?
YK: How does misrepresentation affect local literature?
YK: What is the best advice that you have received from a fellow writer?
YK: What is your future writing plan(s)?
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭'𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒄𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔: 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝑲𝒊𝒅𝒂𝒑𝒂𝒘𝒂𝒏?
Westram made a series of Mandala-like illustrations for each of the nine stories in the collection.
The cover is a composite of all nine illustrations, and as such contains images from all the nine stories.
Paw prints, talisay leaves, rubber seeds, chrysanthemum petals - part of the pleasure of reading the book is spotting references from the stories on the cover!
Just as the stories in the collection are attempts at Mindanao Settler Fiction, West's illustrations (including the cover) are conscious examples of Mindanao Settler Art.
These intricate artworks are deliberately decorative, willingly following (but subtly subverting) the dominant motivation of contemporary Mindanao Settler art to sell as decor, a mode we derisively call the 'Wow Mindanao Aesthetic'.
There are angles which evoke a 'Mindanao' feel: the layout and presence of leaves suggest the betel offerings on a Monuvu tombaa, while the okir crests give a Moro touch.
But to these West adds distinctly Mindanao Settler (but no less local) images: santan flowers, rubber seeds, and even abstract multi-coloured discs suggestive of the iconic paintings of Settler artist Kublai Millan (we called them 'Kinublay discs' when we were developing the cover).
By doing so, West puts Mindanao Settler iconography at par with the Lumad and Moro.
The images are arranged symmetrically but in a deliberately cluttered look, eschewing coherence in a stylistic attempt at evoking the constant inchoateness of postcolonial Mindanao (as opposed to the oversimplistic 'Pinoy identity' deceptively perpetuated as coherent from Manila).
The objects in each illustration are diverse, heterogenous, and often have nothing in common but their shared place in the story - in other words subtle stand-ins for the many peoples of Mindanao.
Not bad for a book cover!
(Posted by Karlo Antonio Galay David)
𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒄𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔: 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝑲𝒊𝒅𝒂𝒑𝒂𝒘𝒂𝒏 - if you are interested to buy the book, you can message Karlo Antonio Galay David FB page.