Ria Unson

St. Louis
About the Speaker

Ria Unson is a Filipino American artist in St. Louis. She was born in the Philippines and emigrated to the U.S. at age 13. Unbeknownst to her, Ria’s great grandfather was brought to the 1904 World’s Fair after the American colonization of the Philippines. By sheer coincidence (or destiny) she moved to the historic neighborhood that once housed the Philippine Exhibit at the fair. Her work explores the continuing legacies of imperialism on identity, migration, and culture. Ria’s art will be in the permanent collection of the History Museum for the 120th anniversary of the Fair.

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Email: riasharon@gmail.com

Underwritten Presentations Available

Filipinos at the 1904 World's Fair: a legacy of race and empire

One of the most popular attractions at the 1904 World's Fair was the Philippine Exhibit, a 47-acre site that for nine months became home to over 1,000 people on display. Ria Unson, St. Louis-based Filipino American artist and researcher, traces the legacy of the fair as a descendant of one of those people. Learn about how the image of Filipinos constructed at the fair was a method used to gain support for American imperialism and to domesticate the immigrant workers of St. Louis.

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