Despite this year’s adversity, Philippine art thrives

Published November 20, 2020, 8:30 AM

by Jules Vivas

Art is life and living is art

For almost a year now, Covid-19 has taken over our lives, having stopped the world in its tracks. We could say momentarily, but this moment has stretched over eight months. In the same way, the pandemic has jumpstarted a new era, the fourth industrial revolution. Among the most affected industries is the arts. While initially the visual and performing arts were impacted negatively by the health crisis, with all the usual venues shuttered and public gathering suspended, those in the creative field have found various means for the arts to go on. Through the digital space artists and their craft have reached audiences isolated and confined indoors.  Galleries and museums started to do virtual tours and exhibitions. Meanwhile, archival footage of theater plays, musicals, concerts, and ballets were being screened online. Workshops, seminars, talks, and other events also flourished on the digital platform. 

ON THE COVER Art records and safekeeps the colorful culture and traditions of regions in the country, as seen in this sleeping mat from Laminusa, Sulu. The particular pattern ‘Kinutabato,’ now called the Cotabato design, resembles the Cotabato malong. It is among the nearly forgotten crafts that collectors are now crazy about

Several organizations and individuals in the art sector rose above the pandemic. One proactive company promoting arts in the country is the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), which has been doing a splendid job consistently dishing out projects and initiatives for the benefit of Filipino arts.

The intrinsic value of culture and the arts illuminates our lives and enriches our emotional world.

Workers in the arts industry, the displaced production staff, for instance, have shown extraordinary resilience. Meanwhile, the public is showing growth in terms of appreciation of the arts. As a matter of fact, people are surviving the tough times through the arts, whether by viewing Netflix or YouTube, listening to music or podcasts, gardening, viewing online art pieces, or even learning some craft. Art is all around us, and it is making life more bearable. 

ON THE COVER This beautiful traditional textile, like the Cotabato, can only be found off the northern limits of Celebes Sea. Its design named Tabanas, now a collector’s item, highlights how art can showcase the distinct creativity and DNA of the Filipino people in a piece as artistic as it is functional

As artists and art groups persevere and continue to pursue their passions, it is also up to the audiences to appreciate, consume, and even advocate their works. Everyone should play an active part in furthering our arts and culture, because ultimately it shapes our identity, boosts our well-being, makes a record of our time, preserves our history, and puts pride in our way of life. The intrinsic value of culture and the arts illuminates our lives and enriches our emotional world.

For this issue of The Philippine Panorama, we explore the various art events and projects happening today, and the progressive state of the art world in our country.

Art in the Philippines thrives in the face of the Covid-19.