Saturday, August 11, 2007

Where's the Art?!


I went to the Museum of the Filipino People. It was interesting but mostly swords and pottery retrieved from sunken ships near Cebu and Manila Bay. As a girl who grew up 30 minutes from NYC where art was always at my finger tips, I found my visit completely depressing. I wanted so much more for my students in Siniloan.

I went to the appropriate offices to get more information and was pointed to galleries where paintings and sculptures were for sale in malls in Makati and Quezon City. So, finding art in Manila has become one of my many personal missions while in the Philippines. I scour the newspapers weekly for information about Filipino artists. (Usually, they are traveling to Thailand and Singapore to exhibit their work in famous museums.)

Some of the volunteers think I’m nuts for complaining that there isn’t much public art available cheaply to the public that are bigger more pressing issues such as tackling economic and environmental issues. I agree but what buoys people when things are difficult? Who helps them remember to see beauty even when life seems void of it? Artists, musicians, dancers…. There aren’t any hard cover books with glossy 4-color photographs of paintings or sculptures in the library. (The library was a classroom until last month.) And there aren’t any shiny instruments tucked in cupboards of the music room. (Instruments are owned individually by students so their voices are the only instruments heard on the school grounds, and so many of my students are somehow pitch-perfect despite their lack of training.)

Okay, one more thing and I’ll get off my soap box. When I go to bookstores to the Filipino Literature section, there are plenty of wonderful books. But the anthologies are all the same literature of varying length of course by the same publisher. My students deserve to see how many accomplished modern Asian writers there are NOW and read work they can relate to not just folktales and essays written by people a century ago….(Not that I don’t appreciate the wonderful folktales and older written works, I’ve read them in English and greatly appreciate them.)

Anyway, my mom is collecting books and sending them to me in a bulk mail shipment, so if you feel so compelled, by all means send a handful of used books her way or with a Baltimore/DC contact (TBD) to collect books in Baltimore/DC.


Blogger opmb's blog said...

Moria, no not the Museum of the Filipino People. Go to the National Museum (the old Senate Building). The Metropolitan Museum (in the Central Bank of the Philippines complex) or the Ayala Museum.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Stumbled across your blog. If you want more contemporary Fil literature, go to PowerBooks or, in particular, Fully Booked. National Bookstore leaves a lot to be desired.

12:30 AM  
Blogger MagandangPhilippines said...

Thanks everyone for the comments!

7:15 PM  
Blogger MagandangPhilippines said...

Thanks everyone for the comments!

7:15 PM  
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