Community, arts, history and language converge at the Asian Art Museum for Filipino American History Month.
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 1, 2015—The Asian Art Museum celebrates Filipino culture and heritage with events throughout September and October, culminating in the museum’s annual Filipino American History Month Celebration on Sunday, Oct. 4. The Asian Art Museum kicks off September with an in-gallery talk featuring renowned Filipino artist Manuel Ocampo. On Sept. 24, the museum opens Piña: An Enduring Philippine Fabric, an educational display focused on the rich tradition of Philippine weavings and textiles. Then on Oct. 1 the Asian Art Museum will host a film screening of “An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines.” From Sept. 4 to Oct. 11, visitors can view artworks by Ocampo and Filipino artist Norberto Roldan in the new exhibition First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian.
Event details follow. Programs are subject to change. For updates, please visit www.asianart.org or call 415.581.3500.
First Look @ First Look
Featuring renowned Filipino artist Manuel Ocampo
Thursday, Sep. 3, 6–9 PM, free with museum admission ($5 after 5 PM)
Be the first to see the Asian Art Museum’s new exhibition First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian. The evening's centerpiece will be a conversation with First Look artists Manuel Ocampo and Chen Man, moderated by Dr. Karin Oen, assistant curator of contemporary art, at 7 PM. Grab a drink at the cash bar, listen to beats by Hakobo, and be inspired.
First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian
Sept. 4–Oct. 11, 2015
Special exhibition galleries, free with museum admission
For the first time, the Asian Art Museum presents a large-scale exhibition of 57 contemporary highlights from the museum’s collection in First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian. Don’t miss artworks by Manuel Ocampo and Norberto Roldan, two representative Filipino artworks in the collection. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.
Piña: An Enduring Philippine Fabric
Thursday, Sept. 24–Sunday, Oct. 11, daily 10 AM–5 PM, Thursdays 10 AM¬–9 PM
Resource Center, free with museum admission
Celebrate the tradition of Philippine weavings and textiles through Piña: An Enduring Philippine Fabric, an educational display on piña in the museum’s Resource Center. Presented in partnership with Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., the display shares the history and evolution of this unique fabric woven from pineapple leaf fibers and illustrates the process of turning these fibers into fine threads. The exhibition includes examples of piña made in the 1930s, during its heyday as elegant wear for prominent Filipino and American women.
An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines
Thursday, Oct. 1, 7–8:30 PM
Education Studios, free with museum admission ($5 after 5 PM)
Prior to 1941, the Philippines provided a haven for Jews fleeing Nazi persecution, saving more than 1,300 lives. “An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines,” a film by Noel M. Izon and Sharon Delmendo, tells this remarkable but little-known story. Co-presented with The Contemporary Jewish Museum.
FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION
Ugnayan Lahi: Weaving a Cultural Tapestry
Sunday, Oct. 4, 10:30 AM–4 PM
Museum-wide, admission free courtesy of Target
Our annual celebration of Filipino American heritage explores the past, present and future of Filipino art and culture in the Bay Area. This year’s theme is “Ugnayan Lahi,” the weaving of a cultural tapestry between generations. Longtime leaders and rising artists will share philosophies of community, art and language, reflecting on 400 years of Filipino American history. The museum will also commemorate a significant milestone: 50 years ago, the 1965 Immigration Act ended a restrictive quota system, sparking a surge of immigration that resulted in a vibrant Bay Area Filipino community. Leaders Mel Orpilla and Kae Hope Echiverri Ranoa (aka “Hopie”) will emcee.
Featuring Panawag, the Summoning of the Gods
11 AM–12 PM, Samsung Hall
The opening ceremony kicks off with Panawag, the summoning of the gods, to ensure the day’s festivities overflow with life, color and abundance. Through dance and music, participants present seven auspicious offerings: rice, water, sugarcane, betel nut, fire, salt and sulang-sulang, a traditional headgear worn by deities. The ceremony, choreographed by artist Jay Loyola, concludes with the tying of the “lubid,” a ceremonial rope to represent the weaving of past and present Filipino American traditions.
Philippine Consul General Henry Bensurto, Jr., Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum, and Major General Antonio Taguba, AARP community ambassador, will be on hand to welcome guests. Attorney and historian Rodel Rodis will introduce the program theme and provide historical context. Concluding the ceremony, folk and blues music by community leaders Vangie Buell and Terry Bautista will get your feet tapping and your hands clapping.
Isang Himig A Capella
12–2 PM, throughout the museum
Hear singing in the galleries? That’s Isang Himig, a multicultural a cappella group from the University of California, Santa Cruz, associated with the University’s Filipino Student Association. Isang Himig, which means “one voice” in Tagalog, aims to spread awareness of Filipino American culture through their harmonies. You’ll find the group singing throughout the museum, bringing music to typically quiet spaces.
Artist Demonstration and Hands-on Activities
12–4 PM, North Court
Watch artists Kristian Kabuay and Lane Wilcken create magic with words as they demonstrate Babayin calligraphy, the ancient native writing system of the Philippines. Then try out your own artistic skills with a hands-on activity.
2–2:30 & 3–3:30 PM, North Court
Be immersed in the vibrant sounds of the rondalla, a stringed instrument ensemble brought to the Philippines during Spanish colonization that evolved into a distinctive style. Performers come from the American Center of Philippine Arts, a local nonprofit that provides young people the opportunity to learn about the country’s history and culture through dance, music and the arts.
YouTube Showcase of Local Filipino Music Videos
12:30–1:30 and 3:30–4 PM, Samsung Hall
Find a new favorite tune and get your groove on. Lawyer and musician Kae Hope Echiverri Ranoa (aka “Hopie”) curates a YouTube playlist of local, contemporary Filipino music videos.
Panel Discussion: Community Organizing through the Generations
2–3 PM, Samsung Hall
Learn about Filipino American history from the 1700s to the present day through a presentation and panel discussion by local activists, academics and artists. James Sobredo shares early Filipino American history, community leaders Terry Bautista and Vicky Santos talk about activism in the mid-20th century, and hip-hop artist Mario de Mira (aka “Nomi”) delves into the contemporary scene.
11 AM–4 PM, Loggia
Dynamic displays presented by local education organizations provide background on Filipino art, culture and history. Topics include 100 years of Filipino American history, the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center, the “How My Family Came to America” essay project and more.
Filipino Arts Storytelling Tours
10:30 AM, 1 and 3 PM
Meet at the information desk
Docent Tours: Filipino Arts
11:30 AM and 2:30 PM
Meet at the information desk
Gallery Talk: The Art of Piña Cloth
12:30–1 and 3:30–4 PM, Resource Center
Explore the exquisite tradition of piña, a unique fabric woven from pineapple fibers. Fashion designer and activist Patis Tesoro and editor Edwin Lozada discuss Piña: An Enduring Philippine Fabric, led by Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., which educates the public about this rich cultural practice.
"Target First Free Sundays" — free general admission on the first Sunday of every month and the family programs offered on that day — are made possible by Target.
Additional support for the Asian Art Museum's Filipino American History Month Celebration is generously provided by AARP.
ABOUT THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM
The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco's premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.
Information: 415.581.3500 or www.asianart.org
Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Hours: The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM. From Feb. 26 through Oct. 8, 2015, hours are extended on Thursdays until 9 PM. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
General Admission: FREE for museum members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youths (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. General admission on Thursdays after 5 PM is $5 for all visitors (except those under 12, SFUSD students, and museum members, who are always admitted FREE). General admission is FREE to all on Target First Free Sundays (the first Sunday of every month). A surcharge may apply for admission to special exhibitions.
Access: The Asian Art Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information regarding access: 415.581.3598; TDD: 415.861.2035.
One of Laureano’s subjects, Spanish female bullfighters in Iloilo CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Sixty-three years after his death, the largely unknown Felix Laureano has come to life in a collection of his photographs exhibited for the first time.
Laureano, born in Patnongon town in Antique province in 1866, could be considered the first Filipino photographer, according to Francisco G. Villanueva, main organizer of the photo exhibit at the art gallery of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) in Iloilo City.
The “Bugasong to Barcelona” show, which ran from June 10 to 26, featured 55 photographs taken by Laureano in Spain and the Philippines, many depicting glimpses of the life of Filipinos in the late 19th century. It also included portraits taken in his studios in Barcelona City in Spain and Iloilo City, and of churches, streets and daily life in rural areas.
Among the historic photographs exhibited were those of the 32 survivors of the last Spanish holdout in Baler town (now part of Aurora province) during the Philippine Revolution.
Villanueva, an Ilonggo based in Toronto in Canada, conducted an extensive research on the life and works of Laureano for at least three years. He said the exhibit was held because little was known of Laureano even among Ilonggos and Antiqueños.
Laureano extols the beauty of a Filipino mestiza in this photo that is accompanied by an essay with lavish praises for the subject. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
“There is no existing biography of him and his legacy in Filipino photography is not well-known,” Villanueva told the Inquirer.
Laureano was depicted as Spaniard or presumed to be from Iloilo, but Villanueva’s research showed that he was born to a prominent and landed family in Patnongon and grew up with his siblings in neighboring Bugasong town. His parents were Norverta Laureano de los Santos, a businesswoman, and Manuel Asensio, a friar from Zamora, Spain, who was assigned as parish priest of Bugasong.
Villanueva said Laureano could have been exposed to photography in Manila after he was admitted to Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1883. He could have worked as apprentice in established studios at the capital during that time.
In his first exhibit in 1887 in Madrid when he was 21, Laureano received an honorable mention citation and again at the 1888 Exposicion Universal de Barcelona, the first international exhibit in Spain.
He traveled in Europe and studied photography in Paris before returning to Barcelona where he became a professional photographer.
Laureano was also an entrepreneur who was up-to-date with the latest technology in photography, according to Villanueva.
In Barcelona, considered then the center of photography in Spain, Laureano established two studios, including Gran Fotografia Colon. He also had studios in British India and along Calle Real (now Iznart Street) in Iloilo City.
‘Memories of the Philippines’
In 1895, or a year before the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, Laureano published the album-book “Recuerdos de Filipinas (Memories of the Philippines)” in Barcelona. It contained 37 photographs with essays on Filipino life in the late 19th century in Manila, Iloilo, Cavite, Batangas, among others.
The book was translated to English and published first in 2001 and in 2014.
Laureano’s works also reflected his role as a press photographer, according to Villanueva. Spain’s leading illustrated newspapers, like the Ilustracion Española y Americana and the Ilustracion Artistica published his photographs, some on their front pages.
Laureano was eventually commissioned to photograph Spanish warships in Barcelona during the Spanish-American War.
His family returned to the Philippines during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and lived in Iloilo City until the end of the Japanese occupation. They later moved to Manila where he died on Dec. 18, 1952, at Hospital Español de Santiago in Makati.
The inaugural exhibit in Iloilo offered only a glimpse of Laureano’s photographs, according to Villanueva, who has seen about 250 of his works during his research in Spain and the Philippines.
Several photographs were also exhibited at Ayala Museum from July 18 to Aug. 2. Villanueva said he was hoping a similar exhibit could be organized in Barcelona.
Ma. Luisa Mabunay, retired UPV professor and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said there could be more photographs in collections, especially in Iloilo City.
“Let us ask our parents and grandparents, and look into our collections,” she said in a symposium on Laureano’s works and life.
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