Kabataan is a series that explores the memories of my childhood. The word “kabataan” is a Filipino word that translates to “childhood” in English. The series is modeled from the teks cards that I played growing up in the Philippines. Teks were collectible playing/trading cards popular with Filipino children which contained graphics and portraits of celebrities, anime characters, and comic storylines. The teks card paintings in this series feature images of plants and trees which were the source of outdoor fun and imagination. Each subject has specific memories connected to them. The work seeks to relive those moments in time. Through incorporating hand painted elements in the cards, these memories are transported to the present. The special edition teks cards feature portraits of my grandparents who shaped my childhood and made me the person I am today. It is a tribute to their perseverance and endless love.
The back of the teks cards feature a pattern of the Maranao tribe in the Philippines called “pako rabong” or growing fern. This pattern is commonly used in a traditional and multi-use infinite blanket called malong. Growing up I owned a malong that became a source of security and comfort.
The cards are meant to be held, scanned, played by viewers. To play teks the players have to make a bet which side of the card will show after flicking or tossing the cards in the air using the thumb and the forefinger which creates a snapping sound. Once the cards hit the ground, the card that flipped upwards is the winner and will collect the bet.