To mark the inauguration of
its new facilities – the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center – the Asian
Center opens the Asian Heritage Galleries, Asian Hall of Wisdom with
"Ugnayan: the Philippines in Asia and Asia in the Philippines,"
– the first of an exhibition series that explores cultural links via the
arts and crafts. The exhibit (re)locates Philippine cultural development
within the greater context of Asia. As such, the Philippines is presented
as part of a chain of civilizations, influencing as well as being
influenced by the movements of people, ideas and artifact in this region
of "remarkable diversity" known as Asia.
The exhibit is made up of four sections. The first section, "Katutubong Hinabi at Kasuotan," features one of the most extensive collections of Philippine costumes. This section essays the Philippine’s wealth in traditional design seen in the astounding variety of colors, cuts and motifs. The second section, "Ikat ng Timog Silangang Asya," connects the Philippines to the greater cultural habitat of Southeast Asia. This region is known for, among many other textile techniques, ikat-weaving, a labor intensive tie-dye method that produces a myriad of intricate motifs valued in both the village and the court. The third section, "Kasuri," extends the act of linking cultures towards the north, (re)connecting Japan to Southeast Asia. This small yet extremely rare collection of kasuri or Japanese ikat kimonos and haori underscores the transnational character of expression as well as the fluid nature of cultural influences and streams. The "north" mirrors the "south" through its own elaboration of the shared ikat motif. Finally, the fourth section diverges from the warp and weft of cultures and reprises an exhibit of the 100 KATAO 100 TAKA, which features folk papier-mâché figures of horses and country maidens, interpreted by contemporary Filipino artists using a wide variety of mediums. As the first three sections interpret "ugnayan" or links across spaces, the fourth section pursues an "ugnayan" across time. Tradition is appropriated and artistically re-invented. What emerges for all to observe and to hopefully reflect upon is that most important if not paradoxical quality found in many Asian (and Philippine) living folk traditions…a quality that exhibits continuity in change, and change in continuity.
December 2, 2009
Katutubong Hinabi at Kasuotan:
Textiles from the Asian Center Collection
Ikat ng Timog Silangan Asia
Binudbudan: Ifugao Tie-dye Weaving
Kasuri: Japanese Ikat
(from the kimono collection of MCM Santamaria)
Carmita Eliza J. Icasiano
Michael J.M. Muñoz
100 Katao, 100 Taka Reprised