Monica Canilao’s art practice is a way to generate a personal and living history. Her community and collaborators are all an integral part her art practice that unfolds in her home base of Oakland, CA.
Canilao’s primarily works with found and recycled materials she revitalizes broken-down forms, celebrating the spirit of mutual-aid and the resourcefulness of marginalized communities. Her art practice moves seamlessly across mediums manifesting in a delicate visual record of the personal and communal. By fluidly using traditional skills such as painting, drawing, book making, illustration and printmaking, she creates intricate flat works, costumes, jewelry, performance and large interactive sculptural works. Recent installations have been in abandoned houses are collaborations between groups of artists and city residents.
Born In Redwood City, California, Canilao received a BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts. She has shown extensively within the United States and internationally in both traditional and non-conventional gallery spaces. Her work has been shown at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Luggage Store Gallery (SF,CA), Deitch Projects (NY), Black Rat Press (London), Di Rosa Preserve (Sonoma, CA), the Oakland Airport, Miami’s Scope Art Fair. She has done public art projects on The Navajo Nations reservation, Washinton DC and is currently working on a photo project and book about shelter in the desert with National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey. In 2013 The Felishhacker Foundation awarded her the Eureka Fellowship. In addition Monica teaches art workshops to children and adults, welcoming the opportunity to share skills and connect with her community.
The common thread lacing her diverse range of work is utilizing found and recycled materials to draw attention to our careless culture that casts things aside and teaching the viewer, participants & students if we practice the art of maintenance our world would look much different.
Canilao’s art compiles a living history. A narrative that weaves her experiences with physical remnants of past lives. Exploring interconnections between what’s past and present, personal and collective, the commonplace and the sacred. These elements combine themselves searching for a vision of home and a feral desire for human connection within the modern world. Canilao’s art is about making living sacred.