The Requiem was Sung Without Words, 1981
Paint and feathers on canvas
98 x 96 in (234.8 x 234.8 cm)

San Francisco-born Carlos Villa (1936–2013) was a groundbreaking American artist whose work broadened the horizons of 20th-century modernism. His search for personal and aesthetic meaning in his own Filipino heritage and global indigenous cultures led him to develop an original and expansive approach to art and the role of the artist.

Villa’s turn to his ethnic roots as a way to inform his art, his positioning of himself and his work within a larger cross-cultural lineage and community, and his commitment to grassroots activism now seem prescient. He self-consciously created a foundation for succeeding generations of Asian American and other diasporic artists to build upon, “so that [they] won’t have to ‘recuperate’ or ‘reinvent’ themselves in the same way that I and other artists who preceded them have had to do.”