Francis Olvez-Wilshaw

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Major project:

Kasamok Ba!

My work examines the complexities of my mixed heritage and identity. I have been investigating the consequences of an overexposed Western influence (rooted in a rural working class Englishness) in my upbringing and outlook at the expense of the other half- a provincial Filipino one. In the work, I look at my mixed heritage as a source of power and absence. I utilise Western conventions in portraiture, costume and sets to create photographs that reference a dramatic European regal composition and rationalism.

My personal relationships with my mothers’ side of the family are a source of regret and mystery. Due to our limited contact and difficulty in communication, my idea of who my grandparents were, are formed through stories told to me by my own mother. Their histories and character were relayed to me through anecdotes and whatever I could draw from our few encounters. The project works as an invention of a family legend. A Filipino/English Fantasy Realism.

(Important to note the radical change in direction my practice took, after I came back from Texas last December. My practice and the subsequent major project were largely influenced by the passing away of my Filipino grandad whilst I was in Texas)


  • My practice is concerned with visual manifestations of power and the exploration of my own mixed-race identity. My work uses traditional conventions of Western portraiture and sculpture and mixes it with specific aspects of provincial Filipino life and memory. The overweening influence and formalism of western rationalism is punctured with elements of humour and absurdism . The primary source for material is drawn from family photographs and my own limited experiences in my Mum's country. 

    The family and primarily my mother serves as the last link to that world. A world that only exists through a handful of memories and stories.  A world I am genetically connected to. A world I have been told I belong to. A world that moulded my mother and therefore, has shaped mine. 

  • Previous degrees

  • BA Sculpture, Camberwell College of Art, 2013
  • Exhibitions

  • Stick a Fork in it, Visual Arts Centre, Austin TX, 2017; Silanaiai Project, Kaunas, Lithuania, 2016; Aether Shrugged, Curious Projects, Eastbourne, 2016; Summer Show 2015 Florence Trust, London, 2015; Winter Open 2015 Florence Trust, London, 2015; If you want me to stay, The Green Man Gallery, Buxton, 2014
  • Awards

  • University of Texas, Austin/ RCA Exchange, August- December 2017; Sculpture Grant, Gilbert Bayes Trust, 2016; Florence Trust Residency, Highbury, London, 2014-2015; Green Man Gallery Residency, Buxton, 2014
Royal College of Art