Charles Venzon Balikbayan Boxes-The Remittance Project-Hereforu


PLATFORM centre is pleased to announce the exhibition Balikbayan Boxes-The Remittance Project-Hereforu featuring new work by Charles Venzon (MB), one of our 2021 PLATFORM Photography Award Winners. 

EXHIBITION | 11 March – 26 March 2022


My recent photographic, video and print media works speak to my mother’s (Vida) story of migrating from Manila to Winnipeg in 1972. I am fascinated with the traditional values she chose to hold onto while making her life here. One of the traditional values that I was taught was “utang loob” (inner debt). 

Since 1970, Vida has been sending Balikbayan Boxes as a form of remittance (Money sent by someone working abroad to his or her family back home.) to her relatives in the Philippines helping to keep her family fed and cared for. Incidentally, this act of remittance remains to be the country’s main source of economic relief. In 1970, the minimum daily wage in Manila was P8.00, today, the minimum daily wage is ~ P537 ($14 CAD/day) (Department of Labour and Employment). As a second generation born Canadian, I don’t have the same familial bond to anyone in the Philippines as my mother has to her homeland. I fear this act of remittance will end after her generation passes. 

Balikbayan Boxes – The Remittance Project is a print media series featuring non-perishable household items that I recall helping pack with my mother growing up. The second Balikbayan Box in the series is called Hereforu.

Masks and proof of vaccination are mandatory, please ensure social distance is maintained and stay home if you are feeling sick. PLATFORM is an accessible venue. For the duration of the exhibition, PLATFORM will be open by appointment. Please email admin@platformgallery.org to schedule your viewing. 24 hour notice is appreciated.


As a Filipinx artist born and based on Treaty 1 Territory and graduate from the University of Manitoba, School of Fine Arts (2000), my background merges performance-based processes with photographic, video, and print media creations (Some of Us Part, 2011; Poise 1-5, 2019; Remittance Project, 2021). Through my work, I uncover aspects of myself which I’m unable to express and articulate otherwise.

Documentation courtesy of Charles Venzon.