Ani/ Malayaworks engages in decolonial resistance work by using multidisciplinary performance and writing modalities to dismantle colonial practices and narratives.
In 1978, I was named Annielille, a combination of Annie and Lille. Annie is a name popular in the US, and Lilia is a Spanish name. I realized that my first name remains as evidence of the colonial influences remaining amongst my people.
My name is a combination of Annie from my paternal grandmother's name, Leandra, and Lille from my maternal grandmother's name, Lilia. I am honored to carry my grandmothers' names. However, I also feel weakened by it. To pursue my work on decolonialism, I changed my name. Ani. It is the root word of Anihan, meaning Harvest and Anitos, meaning Spirit.
Names carry power. Surely, Malcolm Little knew of this when he renamed himself Malcolm X. And as Kunta Kinte states, "Your name is power. Your name is your shield." When I gave birth to a Filipinx girl, I fought to name her a name from the lineage of my ancestors. I gifted her the name Malaya, which in the Tagalog language means freedom.
Throughout Malaya's childhood, we used art to express and unpack who we are as Filipinx in America. Ani/ Malayaworks is our project-based multimedia company created to do collaborative resistance work. By sharing our own lived experiences, we aim to find spaces of freedom. Because if no one will write our stories, who will?