Please also read Tony Robles’s interview with Kilusan Bautista at Poor Magazine.
Who gave you the name Kilusan and what meaning does it hold for you?
In 1999, I was part of a Philippine study abroad program for Filipino Americans known as Tagalog On Site. I was given the name Kilusan, which means active movement, by community activists and artists who encouraged me to continue the movement for social justice and human rights in the United States of North America. The name Kilusan is more of a reminder that as a Filipino American I am connected to a global struggle and I have a responsibility to live consciously and to live for social change!
What is your relationship to poverty and how has it informed your work?
I grew up within a working class family in San Francisco. Most of my youth dealt with the domestic struggles of having a father addicted to drugs. I also have family in the Philippines who either live in urban slums or rural provinces. As an artist and humanitarian, I create my work from these places because they molded how I see the world. I work from the ideal that transformation comes from immense pain and struggle. Therefore I look at poverty as a foundation that informs my work because it was a part of my identity as a young Filipino American and it was a huge push factor that influenced my family to immigrate to the United States of North America.