Thea Canlas is a Filipina-American artist whose conceptual, research-driven work explores the entanglements of diasporic Philippine identity through sculptural objects, installations, and digital media. Her current body of work, Value Studies, traces how colonial economies and contemporary racial capitalism have impacted our perceptions of collective and individual human value. 

Thea received her BFA in Fibers from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2006 and her MFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2023. As a Jacques and Natasha Gelman Travel Fellow, she researched Spanish colonial-era archives and textiles collections in Spain and the Philippines. She also spent a year studying indigenous textile weaving practices in the Philippines. This research led to inquiries into colonial economies and the Philippines’ history of labor migrations. Her work has been exhibited in Washington, DC, Houston, Vancouver, Glasgow, and Baltimore. Recently, Thea was selected as a semifinalist for the 2024 Janet and Walter Sondheim Art Prize. She was also chosen to be a part of the 2024 cohort at Skowhegan.

Thea lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, David, and son, Isagani. She currently works as a studio artist and educator.