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Kapwa Kollection

A collection of jewelry, amulets, and talismans inspired by symbols from my Filipino heritage

Re-imagining the Sacred

During the colonization of the archipelago now known as the Philippines Islands, much of the metal jewelry, amulets, and talismans were stolen and melted down to fund the colonizers' conquests. The Kapwa Kollection is a reimagining of sacred objects, inspired by various indigenous Filipino tattoo motifs, amulets, and symbols that have been preserved.

The artist behind Samonte Cruz Studios has ancestry from varies regions of the Philippines, including Malabon, Illocos, Calabarzon, the Visayas, Bicol, Cagayan and the Cordillleras.


The Meaning of Kapwa

Kapwa translated from Tagalog literally means, ‘neighbor,’ ‘other,’ or ‘both.’ However, some argue that this English translation is incomplete because it can not embody the uniquely Filipino world view which gives it a deeper meaning. Kapwa as a concept is best expressed as, ‘shared inner-self,’ ‘shared identity,’ or ‘self-in-the-other.’ It is the Filipino concept of interconnection and interdependence. The concept is present in many indigenous Filipino cultures and was popularized by Filipino psychologist Virgilio Enriquez. Kapwa as a concept has gained popularity among Filipinos actively engaged in decolonizing work and reviving cultural practices. 

Thank You from the Artist

I wanted to thank two of my biggest inspirations: Julay Nieto of Sacred Spirit Ink and Julz Bolinayen (@bulambulanen). These twin spirits are keeping our culture & traditions alive. If you have the opportunity please support their work if you are able! Thank you for everything you have taught me and for continuing to inspire my work. Also, a big thank you to Lane Wilckan (@lanewilcken) who's books on Filipino tattooing and legends act as guides for those of us engaged in preserving our culture and traditions.