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Uplifting indigenous identities


Rustan’s champions local indigenous culture and art via its Dayaw exhibit
Premier retailer and patron of the arts, Rustan’s, in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, recently launched a showcase of local indigenous culture and craftsmanship entitled Dayaw: Culture and Art exhibition. The exhibit opened on June 21, at the fifth floor of Rustan’s Makati, to a full house of lovers of local art and culture, supporters of Filipino heritage, and aficionados of world-class artisanal skill.
Finest handiwork on parade
Dayaw is a word which has its origins in the dialects of several indigenous communities. As used by the old Tigaonon of Surigao del Sur, it means ‘to show off, parade or display’ and ‘to present with pride what is distinctly and essentially inherent in oneself.” In bygone variations of Catandunganon, spoken in Catanduanes, the word refers to the “display of one’s best, with a sense of pride, dignity and excitement.” In Ilocos, it means ‘honor,’ while in Davao, it is derived from the word kadayawan, which pertains to “a celebration of life, a thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, and the bounties of harvest and the serenity of living.”



Bagobo tribal women demonstrate skilfull beadwork methods

Bagobo tribal women demonstrate skilfull beadwork methods

True to its title, the exhibit celebrated and proudly showed-off the finest handiwork, inherent to some of the Philippines’ oldest tribal peoples. Heavily beaded traditional garments, intricately woven cloths and fabrics, and ornamented accessories were some of the items admired by exhibit-goers and shoppers. Live demonstrations of the skillful process involved in traditional Ga-adang cloth weaving and accessories making, traditional Tikog mat weaving, and traditional Bagobo bead making and embroidery were likewise held at the exhibit opening.
Inspired art
More than just the skillful processes involved, and the outward beauty of the end product of these processes, tribal handiworks are a reflection of the indigenous people’s beliefs and deep-seated spirituality. Patterns embody elements of this strong sense of spirituality, as well as reveal both the weaver and the wearer’s close affiliation with nature and with their community.



A tribal woman demonstrates skilfull beadwork methods



“When indigenous craftspeople work on their art, there are no written instructions, yet they come up with intricate patterns and harmonious designs full of symmetry and rhythm. How do they do that? They draw from divine inspiration and from nature,” Felipe M. De Leon Jr., NCCA Chairman, elaborated. “They also draw from a strong sense of community. Traditional, tribal cultures are usually devotional cultures; they believe in a higher source of their art. We seem to have lost that, in today’s popular culture,” he added.
All exhibits were developed in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and cultural preservation advocate, Sen. Loren Legarda. Concurrent with the exhibit, Rustan’s likewise highlighted designs from its Our Very Own Filipiniana merchandise line, a selection of beautiful, luxe pieces – from delicate, capiz accessories to polished wood accents – for the home.
Catch the Dayaw exhibit until June 26, at Rustan’s Makati, and until June 30, at Rustan’s Shangrila.