Beyond acting as our beloved Production Administrator, Maria Rita Castillo is an accomplished poet, using her words to share her experience in migrating from the Philippines to Canada. She was compelled to write poetry through a love for classic literature and an understanding that the form could help her to express thoughts and emotions with greater clarity. In early 2000, Maria decided to submit her work online and has since had two poems published by the International Poetry Society and formed friendships with a community of writers and artists who share her passion for the written word.
“I have met doctors and famers who penned such wonderful poetry. I feel privileged to be a part of a community of artists.”
Maria touches upon themes of friendship, love, family, and death in her work. She keenly observes relationships among humans and among animals, admiring the beauty of every kind of interaction. Understanding that there is great dignity to life, Maria considers how kindness presents itself and how to ensure future generations remain generous and compassionate with one another.
She further cites the immigrant experience as a theme in her work. Though sad to leave her parents and siblings, Maria moved in pursuit of a dream and has never regretted her decision to come to Canada. She believes art provides immigrants with an outlet to express themselves, find place, and connect to each other in moments of loneliness.
“The feeling of being detached from one’s country and to be able to express these feelings through art is a way immigrants can reach out and realize that they are not alone.”
Maria will be presenting one of her works as part of Scattering and Gathering, an exhibition that shares a glimpse of the Filipino exodus experience, initiated by poet Lakshmi Gill and printmaker Lenore R.S. Lim. She became involved with the group when they exhibited at the Roundhouse in 2016 and notes that this is the first time the group will be presenting works that speak to the migration of Filipinos.
Scattering and Gathering takes place in the Exhibition Hall from Saturday, July 7 to Thursday, July 12, 2018 where Maria is joined by Filipino artists Danvic Briones, Art Calapatia, Chito Maravilla, Esmie McLaren, Stuart Dee Naval and poet Wilbur Victoria.