The second iteration of the artisanal exhibit celebrated Philippine Independence with even more life, culture, and crafts.
“Likha” in Tagalog, is a lovely word that translates to “creation.” Because of the archipelagic nature of the Philippines, there is a wealth of different groups, each with their own language, who have a distinct way of creating their own artisanal pieces.
Last February 2023, the first LIKHA took the direction of a forum that zoned in on the weaving culture in the country. After the success of the first event, LIKHA 2, led by the office of First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos, extended beyond weaving to all kinds of crafts throughout the country —- basket making, stone carving, shell crafting, and ceramics. The artisanal exhibit was in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Philippine Independence and ran from June 10 to 13, 2023 under the high ceilings of the SMX Aura Convention Center in BGC.
The exhibit featured an array of weaves from both the Northern and Southern regions of the Philippines.
Many of the showcased items not only offered practical functionality but delighted the senses.
The array of weaving crossed over from clothing and into the realm of mats and basket-making. There were multi-colored mats from Jama Mapun made with the traditional buri (palm) or other grasses. In one booth were both small and large baskets by the weavers of Tingkep from Palawan. Lead by Leila’s Loomweaving enterprise, textile weavers traveled all the way from Abra in the Cordillera province. There were also live demonstrations from Ilocano artisans wielding Inabel on hardy tapestry looms.
Apart from the ever-popular fabric were dramatic, large-scale stone carvings. Part of the exhibitors also included the well-known woodcarvers Betis Carving from Pampanga, as well as the figurative wood sculptures by Luis Acacs. The famous Sagada pottery also made an appearance, in a variety of multi-colored shapes and glazes made by the mountain clay. Particularly striking were the shell craft creations, which utilized the wealth of Philippine marine biodiversity to create miniature houses, jeeps, and other craft shapes. A popular booth was by jewelry designer Natalya Lagdameo, who recreates the many traditional pre-colonial and Spanish colonial jewelry techniques in spectacular gold pieces.
The artisanal LIKHA exhibit seems set to become a regular event on the country’s cultural roster. By bringing artisans from all over the country together, the convention seemed to provide new avenues for co-creation, with the hope of bolstering our local craft economy and preserving the traditional craftsmanship of local artisans.