Jo SiMalaya Alcampo
Jo SiMalaya Alcampo is an interdisciplinary artist whose art practice integrates storytelling, installation, and electroacoustic soundscapes. Jo has invented technology that allows people to hear plants sing as documented at singingplants.org.
Jo’s writing and multimedia works have been published in TOK 6: Writing the New Toronto, INCITE! Journal of Experimental Media & Radical Aesthetics, Fireweed Women’s Literary & Cultural Journal, and Pinoy Sa Canada. She has performed at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, Ellington’s Cafe, Trane Studio, Kapisanan Centre (Araw ng mga Patay/Day of The Dead Festival), and the Junction Arts Festival (Poetry Village).
Jo’s love for writing was nurtured by her teachers including Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes, an Ontario poet/educator who engaged her Scarborough students in lively discussions about social power, civic responsibility, and the political rhythms of dub poetry; and OCADU professor, Lillian Allen, who inspires students with her passion and commitment to advocacy on world issues.
In 2010, Jo participated in the Diaspora Dialogues Mentoring Program and worked with Rabindranath Maharaj. Jo’s short story, “the inviolable heart” was selected for publication in the Diaspora Dialogues anthology, TOK 6: Writing the New Toronto (2011). Jo performed the first public reading of her story at the 2011 Word on the Street Festival.
In 2011-2012, Jo worked with a group of emerging professional Filipino-Canadian playwrights and developed new work with support from Carlos Bulosan Theatre. Jo’s historical drama, Hilot means Healer explores a family’s attempt to heal soul wounds that cut across generations. Jo is the new Playwright-in-Residence at Cahoots Theatre Company supported by Diaspora Dialogues for 2014-2015. Over the next year, Jo will develop “Hilot Means Healer” and incorporate interdisciplinary gestures in the telling of the story.
Jo currently volunteers with Caregiver Connections, Education and Support Organization (CCESO), a support group for Filipina Live-in Caregivers, and is a member of the Kapwa Collective—a mutual support group of Filipino Canadian artists, critical thinkers, and healers bridging narratives between the Indigenous and the Diasporic, and the Filipino and the Canadian.
Upcoming projects include Restless Precinct with Kapwa Collective, a site specific, group exhibition and performance series about land, identity and decolonization situated in Scarborough’s Guild Precinct. Learn more at kapwacollective.tumbr.com.
Kwentong Bayan: Labour of Love is a community-based comic book project created by Althea Balmes (illustrator) and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo (writer) in close collaboration with Filipina migrant workers in the Live-in Caregiver Program. In the Filipino language, Kwentong Bayan is literally translated as “community stories,” and Labour of Love reflects our understanding that community-based artwork and caregiving work is rooted in love, is valuable, and deserves respect. Learn more at lcpcomicbook.com.