How much do you know about Filipino art? Not the art that natives and colonists made after the islands were conquered and converted – the art that sprung directly from the spirit of the people, before their islands were referred to as “the Philippines” (a title meant to honor King Philip of Spain).
I am half Filipino, half German, and I have access to a LOT of Germanic art. I have access to scores of family members here and in Germany who would love nothing more than to tell me all about their culture. Recently in considering this, I realized I knew nothing about the original art and cutlure of what are now called the Philippine islands. Neither does anybody I have asked. It’s not even mentioned in Rutgers University’s early world art history class. Assuming that people did exist in the early Philippine islands – and no one can dispute that they did – this is unacceptable to me.
I asked the experts – books and the Internet – and I found the information that was lacking. Among this information was one discovery of particular interest to me, called the “okir.” It one of the most integral forms of art to the islands’ original society, a recurring floral ornamental accent which seems intertwined with other patterns across the globe, suggesting in particular an Islamic influence. It was carved, painted, and drawn on everything from art to architecture, displayed as a symbol of the people’s pride in their culture and the pride of the artisans in their craftsmanship. Essentially, the okir was created and adopted by the native people as a proud display of the spirit of their society. The okir shines with the light of the passion, the pride, the patriotism of these people; however, it has been eclipsed from the view of most of the world.
“Lozadas” is my riposte to this repression. The faces you see are representatives of as many generations of my family as I could find. The pattern which is projected onto is a rendering of the okir. After studying occurances of the okir in surviving artifacts, I recreated a version of my own. I then used digital means to colorize the pattern, matching the exact color palettes of okir patterns found on the artifacts I’d studied.
Like the Philippines, my last name (“Lozada”) is of Spanish origin. It means “to light up” or “illuminate.” Please enjoy.