Inside the Studio of Maia Cruz Palileo

Photograph by Maggie Shannon
All photos by Maggie Shannon

Maia Cruz Palileo

Palileo’s studio is located within the labyrinthine confines of the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park. Part of a huge warren of studio spaces offered to artists at a reasonable rent by the Chashama Foundation, the space itself is intimate, made only more so by the intensely moving nature of Palileo’s paintings, whose subjects gaze out almost unnervingly at all who enter. Palileo—a 2008 graduate of the MFA program at Brooklyn College—paints, draws, and creates installations inspired by the history of her family, many of whom immigrated to the Midwest from the Philippines, and are influenced by things like old photos and stories passed down through generations of her family. Her work has an undeniably haunting quality, both for what it reveals and for what remains hidden; it tells of memories reconstructed, of lives never truly known, and of just how tenuous our grasp of our own identity will always be.

For more on Maia Cruz Palileo, visit
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