Regine Malibiran is advocating for underrepresented groups through her work in the arts.

Writer, entrepreneur and community builder Regine Malibiran is trailblazing the new generation of activism in the workplace. By standing strong in her beliefs, Malibiran is encouraging open conversation on topics that have always been deemed not “work appropriate.” 

By Hannah Nuñez. Photos by Joi Conti.

Malibiran wasted no time expressing her creativity and fighting for her beliefs. In spring 2016, she graduated from UT Austin, and by October she had founded the lifestyle brand Collective Blue. “My motivation behind it was to find my people postgrad and contribute creations I wanted to see more of in the world,” Malibiran says. “The goal that inspired Collective Blue is the same goal I approach my work with to this day: to focus on building community with people who I can fully be myself around and who are fighting the same fight as me.” Every month Collective Blue would select alocal creative to feature in a curated blog post that told their story while showcasing their work. In 2019, the company hosted the missfits fest, celebrating Asian-American women and their entrepreneurship in the arts. It was at this festival that Malibiran caught the eye of Sixth Square Executive Director Pamela Benson Owens. Malibiran was invited to produce an upcoming festival for the nonprofit, which soon translated into a full-time position. 

At that point in her career, Malibiran began to pinpoint how she wanted to both contribute and change the industry. “I’m an Aries; I can’t help but feel passionate about the things I deem as important,” she says. “With everything happening at the time, I soon became very angry with the state of the world and didn’t understand why others were suppressing their beliefs.” By addressing society’s discomfort with genuine emotion, Malibiran stood up forunderrepresented communities of all ages and backgrounds. “Trauma is passed down until it’s ready to be felt. Coming from an Asian descent, where women are expected to be submissive and docile, my generational inheritance was a matriarchal line of female rage. I knew I’d never fit into the stereotype that was created for me, so if I was gonna be discredited for showing the slightest emotion, why not lean all the way in.”  

After connecting with Carver Museum Director and Curator Carre Adams, Malibiran fell in love with the company and began working there part time in November 2019. She was able to apply her past work experience to her role as co-project manager for the museum’s 2020 Juneteenth festival. “In September 2022, I became the interim exhibit coordinator and just last year got the full-time role with health insurance and all,” says Malibiran with a laugh. “While I don’t have a ‘traditional’ arts background or education, my mentor, Carre Adams, bet on me, and without him I would not be in the position I’m in today.”

While maintaining her position at the Carver, Malibiran has been working on her curatorial debut, {BUMUO: Rebuilding the Filipino Body}. The exhibit utilizes Filipino artwork to tell a story of decolonization, histories of resistance and collective healing. “I’m so passionate about creating pathways for creatives of color and underrepresented communities because we deserve to tell our truth our way without being censored or diluted,” Malibiran says. Throughout every step of the exhibit’s production, she has done everything in her power to ensure that both her beliefs and the artists are well represented. Being awarded the $25,000 Elevate Grant allowed Malibiran to properly compensate her artists for their work. “I know what I’m paying my artists isn’t the ‘norm,’” she says, “but it should be. I want their sole focus to be around creating, not how they’re gonna pay for supplies. I made it a point to pay the artists equally regardless of whether they’re based in the States or not. To me, it’s colonizer behavior if I were to pay a Philippines-based artist differently just because they don’t live in America and have a different currency.” Through BUMUO, Malibiran hopes to showcase the result of art created out of passion and community rather than economic gain. 

Malibiran’s future plans consist of nurturing her art services agency, Forth Space Productions. “I founded Forth Space to represent a vision of success through solidarity. I want to exhibit cross-culture solidarity as a way to free each other and create a space that our oppressors are trying to prevent.” The company focuses on uplifting the community through exhibitions, programming, consulting and artist management.

“I’ve always been in love with the idea of messages and stories; it’s what human nature revolves around. In this day and age, though, we have to go past storytelling and start telling truths. I’m looking to unearth and amplify those truths, both in and out of the workspace. If I’m gonna stand behind the belief of collective healing, I refuse to not have that fully apparent in the way I do business.”



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