Living tapestry weaves together culture, history and community

The National Arts Centre celebrates Asian artists and audiences in its halls and public spaces during Asian Heritage Month, and all year. In 2024, the Kipnes Lantern joins the party! Our digital stage features the work of Christine Mangosing, sama-sama * sala-sala, throughout the month of May.

Christine Mangosing is a Manila-born, Toronto-based graphic designer and creative director. She is the founder and principal creative of visual communications studio CMANGO DESIGN, and currently an Associate Creative Director at Dentsu Creative. As a multidisciplinary artist, her creative practice also includes writing, theatre performance, and dance. 

We spoke with Christine about the work and the importance culture, community and history play in her creative endeavours.

How would you describe sama-sama * sala-sala?

sama-sama * sala-sala was conceived as a living tapestry that weaves together the past — drawing connections to my ancestors known and unknown; my present — as a member of the Filipino diaspora, an immigrant uprooted from one colonized land to another; and the future —leaving space for what’s to come and reflecting on what we will leave behind.

The work pays homage to Indigenous weaving and tattoo traditions from the central and northern regions of Luzon, and Panay Island, where I am descended from. Rooted in the concept of kapwa — the “intuitive recognition that we are part of a shared identity” (Cervantes) the interwoven fibres serve as an apt representation for the interconnectedness of community, and the interdependence of our collective futures.

As I started to think about this work and what I wanted to create, the words Reroot, Remember, and Repair were reverberating in my head.

To reroot speaks to migration and separation, the resilience and adaptability that rises up out of having to start again.

To remember — to reflect on what we take with us from where we came, what legacies and wisdom from our ancestors can inform us on our path forward.

And most importantly for me as an immigrant mother, is the act of repairing. Acknowledging and healing from generational trauma, breaking out of the fear and shame so many in my generation were raised with in regard to our culture. These are remnants of centuries of colonialism and occupation, war and displacement, that we are only now just learning the language to identify, especially in the context of what we are bearing witness to today.

I feel very deeply that is my responsibility as a mother, as an artist and a member of my community, to not only create connections to the histories and culture from which I came from, but to also imagine — and take part in building —  a new way of being. Not to see the wounds of the past as a barrier but as fuel for progress.  How do we, as a community and as models for successive generations, move forward with positive connections to the past, while working to reframe the narrative for what it means to be Filipino, to be Canadian, to be human? In the act of repairing, the goal is not to simply rebuild what was there before but to create something new.

What was your creative approach?

I have long been fascinated with the woven materials of the different regions across the Philippine Islands and the ways in which they embody nature, community, and spirit, and fuse beauty and divinity with utility. Over the years and over trips back and forth to the Philippines, I’ve collected books, articles, images, fabric, banig, etc… all of which served as reference for the elements I brought together to create this work.

As a sacred tradition and artform, the act of weaving and the resulting works are not considered individual creations in Indigenous Filipino tradition, but the work of the collective consciousness. The symbols, patterns and motifs I reference in this work all hold deep meaning for the people from which they come from and are shared here in tribute to their principles and beliefs. 

Motifs from Kalinga tattoo

  • Snake tongues: staying attuned to the ancestor’s messages.
  • Mountains facing each other with rivers and paths in between: guiding the individual on the proper path or flow in life.
  • Rice sheafs/rice grains: family, abundance, the all-seeing eyes of the ancestors.


  • Symmetrical structure: inspired by Bontoc textiles, which revolves around the idea of centeredness.
  • Intersecting horizontal and vertical panels: pays homage to the hablon weave of Panay Island. 


  • Geometric patterns and motifs invoke Kalinga and Ilokano weaving traditions.
  • Lingling-o: Ancient amulet found throughout Southeast Asia. Combination of masculine and feminine energies. Symbol of fertility and virality, protection, balance, and interconnectedness.
  • Unwoven segments: represent the stories that have yet to be told — the work we are still doing, what we will leave behind.


  • The mountains, the ocean, the land I am descended from.
  • My lolas (grandmothers – paternal and maternal): my known ancestors as bearers of resilience, adaptability, strength, and grace.

- - -
Cervantes, Carl Lorenz [@sikodiwa], Kapwa. Instagram, February 27, 2024.

Join our email list for the latest updates!