Mahalaga by Raffaela Malazarte

Mahalaga” is a Tagalog (Filipino dialect) word for “important, significant, or great” which all come to mind when Malazarte thinks of her new home: Kansas City. The people are the most important part of this fast-growing city with countless economic and social opportunities. What is considered important opportunities differs from person to person. The artist believes immigration, environment, and gender equality are what make Kansas City “mahalaga”.

Kansas City is an ethnically diverse place with a path of continuous growth and success including its typically marginalized constituents. Often this takes form in opening its doors to new local businesses that include various cultures that are not traditionally midwestern. As a Filipino woman who has migrated to Kansas City, Malazarte misses the large green spaces and gardens of her home country. Through her art, she is encouraging everyone to take part in building a nature-friendly city by planting trees, nurturing plants, or growing flowers and vegetables in their own gardens or a community garden.

Additionally, immigrants, like myself, have brought creativeness, new innovations, and cultures to the United States. Kansas City is proudly full of multiculturalism. It is also a place for women and all genders to achieve equality. Over the years, an influx of immigrant women has had opportunities to share their skills and knowledge in various fields and have immensely contributed to the advancement of the city. The artist has been able to grow her skills in the medical field and as an artist.


KC Streetcar Library Southbound Stop, Ninth Street and Main Street


Originally from the Philippines, Kansas City-based artist, Raffaela Malazarte, has been experimenting with oil painting since 2000. Her style is greatly influenced by fauvism and impressionism. Raffaela’s choice of colors and brush strokes are very bold, thick, and vibrant.

Raffaela aka “Raffy”, is a self-taught artist, always open to experimenting with new techniques. Her preferred use is thick brush strokes, followed by a more complicated method of palette knife painting. You can find Raffy experimenting with these techniques in the basement of Kansas City Artist Coalition.

Instagram : malazarteart