Marikit Santiago creates scenarios in which customs, folklore and perspectives on faith, value and motherhood are challenged. Santiago’s immediate family are the subjects of her paintings, which are often also made in collaboration with her children. She uses recycled cardboard as the substrate for her works, a practice that reflects the Filipino ethos of ‘making do’ and, more specifically, the tradition of Balikbayan boxes, which Filipino migrants from around the world send back to their families in the Philippines.

Created in the artist’s home studio during lockdowns and between homeschooling, Thy Kingdom Come, 2022, takes inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, 1490–1500, with Santiago reimagining stories of sin and earthly pleasures. While the title references the biblical supplication for the coming of god’s kingdom on Earth, it can also be seen to express aspirations for a more just and equitable world, or even an inner transformation.

For Inner Sanctum, Santiago has created Sa Simula (In the Beginning), 2024 that depicts her family as ancient Tagalog gods and goddesses with references from Greek and Roman mythology. In Santiago’s retelling, which plays with the conventions of the origin stories that permeate all faiths and belief systems, her family are agents of both creation and destruction. The painting is rich in symbolism relating to the Indigenous creation myth of Bathala – the Tagalog god, the creator of all beings – later recognised as the Christian God, following the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the Philippines during the sixteenth century.