Open Market: Meet Ani/Malayaworks

Anito Gavino (L) and Malaya Ulan (R) performing Tagong Yaman at the Bride


Welcome to the first installment of our Meet the Artist blogs, part of our Open Market event series! Our programs, running now through summer 2023, welcome you to our new hub space at 5212 Market Street. We’ve co-created exciting programs with multiple local artists for Bride friends, old and new.

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we spoke to longtime friend and collaborator, Anito Gavino of mother-daughter dance collective Ani/Malayaworks, about both her rehearsal work and public offerings at the Bride’s space:

What are you rehearsing in the Bride space? 

Currently, we are rehearsing for an upcoming show, Tabo and Washrag, the sound of rain on a tin roof. A tabo and a washrag can both describe culturally specific intimate relationships to water as tools for cleansing one’s self and both hold memories of family and place for the artists involved. The use of corrugated steel in buildings within our communities is a visual connector– it creates percussion in memory and during rainy seasons and is a transportive sound. Brandon Aquino Straus will create an anticolonial visual art installation, Ani/Malayaworks will share a movement work-in-progress, and Nikolai McKenzie will present movement/text from ancestral research.


Ani/Malayaworks rehearsing at the Bride for Tabo and a Washrag


What inspires/motivates this specific work, here and now?

This is collaborative work with Brandon Aquino Straus, Nikolai McKenzie, and myself. In this work, we honor our lineage, a lineage often unheard in binary America. This is important to us as we would like to unpack the nuanced stories of queer, immigrant, islanders disconnected from our mother islands. We bring forth stories of resilience and resourcefulness, hence we title the work Tabo (a plastic cup often used in Filipino households to wash our bodies) and the washrag (one used in a Jamaican upbringing). Showing a connection between stories from the Pacific and the Caribbean is our way of garnering solidarity between many of us who come to this country and forget our nuanced stories and assimilate to the demographic boxes we are assigned to. 

How has access to the Bride space been valuable to your work?

The Bride has provided space for us to rehearse and develop the work. Also, in our efforts to reach communities, I am hosting community dance parties and the Bride has been helping me promote and further reach audiences.

Check out Ani/Malayaworks all-ages dance party, Bumpin’ Bride, at the Bride on Friday, May 12 from 6–8PM! (RSVP here)