nawa alviar horton
Stills from Moonyeka's video "orchids roll their eyes."
Editor's note: nawa alviar horton is a multidisciplinary artist working across a range of disciplines, including choreography, sound, video, biomythography, QT nightlife performance methodologies such as Drag and Burlesque, and now poetry and story. We are proud to present a selection of their work in this issue from their work-in-progress Harana for the Aswang*. Think of this as a landing page, a new alphabet, from which to begin exploring nawa's work by following the links below to four works across text and video, published here for the first time, and of which they write:
While the Sampaguita is the Philippines' national flower (not endemic to the Philippines), the [endemic] Waling-Waling Orchid emerges as the people's choice. This piece re-centers the Waling-Waling Orchid's deep history while bringing inquiry to nationalism. In the spirit of Aswang, the Waling-Waling Orchid is a flower that is both deeply revered and simultaneously unrecognized. [...] When I really listen to the phenomenon of orchids and the trees it grows on, I see my community's magic right in front of me.
*Aswang is an umbrella term for various shapeshifting, mythological, animist, folkloric, "evil" spirits and creatures in Filipino folklore.
after blossoming, cut the stalk all the way to the bottom of the hardy leaf
100 men and eight women have called me delirious. I believed the first 29. When I’m thirsty or in disbelief, I sip words I’m learning.
B- BARBARIC BAKLA BULAKLAK BREASTFEEDS. BALISONG BUTTERFLIES BULAKLAK
C- Are you COMFORTABLE, CULTIVATOR? COLONIZER? COMMERCIAL? CUNT!
D- DORMANCY lasts six to nine months
E- ENDEMIC EROTIC
F - FOREIGN FLOWER (bulaklak). Orchids do not require FERTILIZATION. King FELIPE. FOUR thousand Spanish words inFILTRATED,
G- GENETIC, GENES, GENOCIDE
H- HOW does
I- INDIGO look in ILOCOS?
L- the four LETTER word is actually five,
M- MAHAL. MOTHER is
N- NANAY is
O- ORIENTAL ORCHIDACAE ORCHIS
P- PARADISE, doesn’t have PAPERS, doesn’t have PRONOUNS he-/shes
Q - QUEER as in
R- people of the RIVER, RECLAIM, REVOLUTIONS against
S- SAMPAGUITA, a SPANISH flower (est. 1942) by an American General, crowning jasmine the Philippine’s national flower under Proclamation 652.
T- TRAITORS are shot in the back. TRAITORS are TAGALOG. TOUCH me not. THEY -/ siya
L - Vida - LIFE, LUZONICO
V - Life - VIDA, VANDA
X- EXOTIC and EXECUTED
The 5 W’s:
W- Who - is wildy on trees, close to the sea
W- What - is overhanging in waves
W- Where - an orphanage, a military base, Germany, Florida, Philippines
W- When - The cultivator was only thirty-six—twenty years older than myself—when he died.
W- Why - the three hundred plus colonial project failed
AND USUALLY HOW IS FORGOTTEN.
I am dehydrated more times than I could count to ten in inglés and I forget the alphabet spewed by eight women who cannot fathom being fully exposed to the tropical sun.
WHEN THE EXPOSURE BLOOMS
ORCHIDS ROLL THEIR EYES
LICKING EACH OTHERS' SCENTS
nawa alviar horton, known as "Moonyeka" (they/them) is a mixed bakla-nonbinary Ilocano-Filipinx shapeshifter who takes form as an interdisciplinary performing artist, teaching artist, author, choreographer, curator, scholar, brujx and interdisciplinary artist. They have the honor of being the Artistic Director of The House of Kilig. Harana for The Aswang is an interdisciplinary performance work centered on the research of harana, a Filipinx serenade song form rooted in courtship and grief rituals. As a Jack Straw New Gallery Resident, Moonyeka & The House of Kilig will be opening a 6-week exhibition of this interdisciplinary performance research on May 31, 2024. nawa plays in the fields of autofiction and biomythographic writing practices and is working towards publishing their first book. Find them on IG @m00nyeka x @houseofkilig