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YARN BOMB, KNIT BOMB: A Beautiful Collision of Art, Whimsy, Nature, and Tradition


Check out a visual installation like few others, by G.A.M.E. and the country’s Queen of Knitwear

There are many who might regard art as a lofty ideal, or, perhaps, as a fanciful exercise into the realm of whimsy – one which has little place in the stark reality of everyday life. Then there are those who might say that art is, in fact, so intertwined with everyday reality that this connection is at once solid and unshakable, as it is subtle and imperceptible.

I think the truth lies somewhere in between, for what is art if it cannot be both whimsical and pragmatic? Both elusive and accessible? When these aspects collide, the result is an explosion of multi-sensory proportions—such as one might find in Yarn Bomb Knit Bomb, an ongoing exhibit at the Greenbelt Mall Gardens in Makati.

Getting their G.A.M.E. on

Yarn Bomb Knit Bomb is a unique installation, rooted in the graffiti or street art form of “yarn bombing,” or covering a tree or any other structure with colorful yarn. Born  from the collaboration of G.A.M.E. (the Greenbelt + Ayala Museum Experience) with Manila’s Queen of Knitwear, Lulu Tan-Gan, the eye-catching exhibit is the first of its kind in the vicinity.

“With every campaign launched at Ayala Malls, we always aim to push the envelope and introduce our mall-goers to new experiences,” notes Joseph Reyes, Assistant Vice President and Area Head of Central Manila, Ayala Malls Group. “When it comes to the museum experience, traditionally we think of white walls and art works simply displayed in frames and on glass counters. But Ayala Museum sees itself beyond this, setting up creative, inspiring spaces around the mall and the city.”

“The mall is more than just a place to shop and hang out, it’s also a creative hub where you can discover new things and explore new concepts,” he adds, in explanation of the concept of G.A.M.E.

Art explodes onto the green

In line with the group’s mission to make art more accessible to the public, Tan-Gan’s installation explodes in a dazzling array of retro colors (think: bright pinks, fiery oranges, vivid greens, and the like) all across the Greenbelt Gardens, right by Ayala Museum. Imagine, centuries-old Balete trees clothed in vivid and vibrant “sweaters” and “dresses” made of doilies, as knitted caterpillars crawl up and down the arbors’ vines, as if to marvel at the fashion finery. Rocks in ponds and lampposts along walkways take on a new sartorial sensibility, snuggly wrapped in striking patterns and prints, as well. These are sights best-enjoyed, up close and personal – trust me, it’s a heartwarming visual treat! Not to mention, they make for great spots for pictures. “This is a unique gallery that goes beyond and outside the typical walls of a museum. You can see, touch and truly experience the art,” shares Tan-Gan.

“Through this exciting exhibit, Ayala Museum and Ayala Malls redefine the museum experience, bringing art outside of the gallery and to the outdoors,” adds Mariles Gustilo, Ayala Museum’s Senior Director.

Retro meets contemporary

Tan-Gan’s choice of the retro aesthetic (as seen in the colors, designs, and styles of the yarn bombing) is no accident – the artist, in her own purposeful way, aims to shine the spotlight on arts and crafts of the more customary kind.

“Here, we’ve created scenes that train the spotlight on traditional craft, which includes images of our indigenous groups in a contemporary setting. This, in my opinion, is the best way to connect traditions and the present,” the acclaimed fashion designer says. “This exhibit is a journey that takes you both into the past and future, inspiring others to revive, repurpose and innovate traditional knitting, weaving and crochet.”

It takes a community to crochet a tree sweater

Adding to the significance of the exhibit is the fact that Tan-Gan got the community involved in the knitting and crocheting of doilies for the Balete tree (which the group behind the exhibit christened the “Communitree”).

According to the knitwear maven, more than a hundred people expressed their desire to participate, and, from the initial entries, she chose 30 men and women for the project. Tan-Gan curated their submissions and laid them out across the gardens with her “partner artists,” the arborists and gardeners of Greenbelt.

Meters and meters of yarn, along with knitted and crocheted pieces in bright, bold colors and retro patterns decorate Greenbelt’s trees and gardens

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“Those who participated (in this exhibit) come from all walks of life – we have lawyers, teachers, mothers, crochet hobbyists from all over,” Tan-Gan relays, as she points out that traditional crafts were always meant to be enjoyed as a community.

Get in on this joys of customary craft and art for everyone. Catch Yarn Bomb, Knit Bomb until January 14, 2018. For more information, visit www.ayalamuseum.org.