Monthly Archives: July 2009

Wanted: Furoshikis with Pinoy Personality

Furoshiki

Furoshiki

Here is a chance to highlight Pinoy design on a traditionally Japanese product: the furoshiki.

The Japan Foundation is calling on student designers to submit designs for furoshikis which will blend imagery from the Philippines and Japan. Are you imagining already the Rising Sun and the Manila Bay Sunset?  

The contest is open to individuals or groups engaged in the study of design or related subjects at a university or vocational school. Three entries will be chosen for production and will be displayed and sold at JF shops and other locations around the world . Check the details here. There is also a cash prize of 30,000 JPY for the artist, and copyright payment for the chosen designs.

A furoshiki is a traditional Japanese cloth primarily used to wrap small objects, but is also used in many different ways — as a belt, a bag, a cap. The possibilities are endless.

How-To Furoshiki

How-To Furoshiki

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts & Culture

Passages and the Future

Tabaimo's "Japanese Kitchen"

Tabaimo's "Japanese Kitchen"

It’s funny how when we think of a passage we often visualize a straight corridor. A clear unencumbered hallway that is easy to move in. At least, that is how I think it should be.

But “should” is a dangerous word, already poised for potential headaches and heartaches (hahaha, not really), especially when applied to something like the recent contemporary art exhibition titled, “Passage to the Future: Art from a New Generation in Japan” which opened at the mcad (Museum of Contemporary Art and Design) at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, School of Design and Arts last July 7.

This particular passage wasn’t straightforward and simple, as we imagined it to be – bring the materials in, let the curator/s design the layout, supervise the installation, and open with a reception.  No, no, no. The universe will not let us down that easy.

Instead, this passage came with many twists and turns, sleep-hungry nights and more questions than one can really bear to answer.

 Still, what is important is that the exhibit opened successfully. Here is proof.

Bro. Victor Franco (DLS-CSB), Dir. Ben Suzuki (JFM) and Dir. Tomoko Dodo (JICC)

Bro. Victor Franco (DLS-CSB), Dir. Ben Suzuki (JFM) and Dir. Tomoko Dodo (JICC)

Bro. Victor Franco formally welcomes the guests to the mcad

Bro. Victor Franco formally welcomes the guests to the mcad

The start of the program as Mr. Suzuki introduces the exhibit and the performers.

The start of the program as Mr. Suzuki introduces the exhibit and the performers.

Sam performs his winning piece, "Which Way?"

Sam performs his winning piece, "Which Way?"

Shigemi sways

Shigemi sways

Shigemi suprises

Shigemi surprises

Shigemi and Sam together

Shigemi and Sam together

Shigemi and Sam open the exhibit and lead the guests through the gallery

Shigemi and Sam open the exhibit and lead the guests through the gallery

Shigemi and Sam interacting with the artworks

Shigemi and Sam interacting with the artworks

The guests by Atsushi Fukui's paintings

The guests by Atsushi Fukui's paintings

The works featured were all strong pieces, which sparked interest and a connection with the audiences. The video installation by Tomoyasu Murata was the most affecting work for me, as I became nostalgic about my childhood piano teacher. It doesn’t hurt too that the touching movie had a beautiful score which became my theme song of sorts during the exhibit installation.  

Tomoyasu Murata's Video Installation

Tomoyasu Murata's Video Installation

A quick run-through of the works and one can immediately say that they are all contemporary pieces – very advanced in their application of media. However, as pointed out in the catalogue, their creators all had a solid bond to the traditional way of doing things the Japanese way. It is the exquisiteness of a well-thought packaging of Japanese sweets, the polished veneer of an everyday bowl, the elegant restraint of well-placed stones in a garden. It is elevating the ordinary, mundane, personal everyday things like potted plants, clouds and plastic toys, into what we call art.

Masafumi Sanai's photos

Masafumi Sanai's photos

Miyuki Yokomizo's Soap Installation

Miyuki Yokomizo's Soap Installation

A former colleague, working in a national arts and culture institution, remarked that what she finds admirable in Japanese art is that the Japanese artist is no longer searching for an identity. Somehow, even without being obviously mindful of being Japanese, their attention to detail, the respect to their craft and the littlest things, almost always is a giveaway to the audience that not only is the artist a skilled artist , to the outside audience, he or she is a Japanese artist.
A wall of Nobuyuki Takahashi's paintings

A wall of Nobuyuki Takahashi's paintings

Satoshi Hirose's Beans Cosmos

Satoshi Hirose's Beans Cosmos

Hirose's Star Dust

Hirose's Star Dust

That’s such a nice thing to be associated with. On the other hand, Filipino artists (performing artists, at least) are known abroad to be musical, happy and friendly. Also a nice thing, but I digress.

Filipinos are familiar to this as it illustrates one of JoseRizal’s sayings, “Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, ay di makakarating sa paroroonan.” (Loosely interpreted, it means, one who does not look back to where he came from, will not get to where he would like to go.) If only we Filipinos can apply it to our daily lives…

Like undergoing labor pains (which lasted for 4 nights), this “passage” was complicated and finally was a relief, as soon as opened. And you have to see it because it is a beautiful “baby.”

Putting up this exhibit is credited to Chit Ramirez, who doesn’t fail to inspire with his energy and optimism. It is a given that he is a talented artist and curator, but what makes him brilliant, is his generosity and good nature. With Chit working throughout the night were Ms. Luisa Zaide and Belle of the mcad, and the SDA boys. They were essential and crucial to the smooth installation, all were very patient and cooperative – despite a demanding exhibit, schedule-wise and technically.

SDA Boys

SDA Boys

Belle of mcad, Chitz Ramirez, and Bambi Diaz of JFM

Belle of mcad, Chitz Ramirez, and Bambi Diaz of JFM

After this exhibit opened, I realized that although we all look to the future, working towards it, we all are also better off learning from lessons of the past.

My lesson? Work with light-hearted, hardworking committed people, who can elevate something mundane such as unpacking boxes and positioning ladders, hanging rods and painting walls into a wondrous work of art.

——–

Passage to the Future: Art from a New Generation in Japan is on exhibit at the mcad until August 7 (Friday).

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts & Culture

A Breather or What Happened After the Last Post

The past weeks have been very busy — one project after another. Not really a neat beginning and end, but more like an overlapping of sorts. It was crazy tiring but it was worth it.

Our last post was about Japanese contemporary dancer Maki Morishita’s participation at the 4th WiFi Body Festival at the CCP just as she was about to arrive.  We met her finally on the day of her workshop at the CCP, a day after she arrived. Maki is an energetic, playful, and creative artist who charmed 25 young dancers into her special brand of contemporary dance.

Maki Morishita

Maki Morishita

She went through some “loosening” exercises, which eventually graduated into improvisation pieces. The CCP main lobby was full of life as the young (most of them 14-16 years old) gamely tumbled, stretched and ran through the CCP’s hallways.

Holding poses

Holding poses

Exercises in relaxation

Exercises in relaxation

Break Time

Break Time

The workshop ended with the students performing their self-introductions, with Maki following them.
Dancing the Self
Maki Morishita 038
After her short showcase, everybody was very interested to see her performance. Maybe more interested and excited was the Filipino dancer she will be collaborating with, Rhosam Prudenciado.
Maki and Sam by the Bay

Maki and Sam by the Bay

 We still would have to receive the photos from their July 2 performance, but for now you would have to rely on my review that their performance was a whimsical, wonderful and uplifting collaboration. Maki first performed her solo, “Debutante”, a piece brodering between dance and drama; followed by Maki and Sam’s engaging piece.  It was a light piece which not only showcased their skills but also their personalities; providing a nice foil for the more “serious” pieces in the program (the mambubukid dance and the piece danced to Bach’s Air on G String were my favorites!).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized