Prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn once said, “Great artists are people who find a way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.”
Art, without a soul or a moral compass, is just a canvas with paints, or a series of movements without any meaning, or another film used for propaganda or personal gains.
While there is nothing wrong with money as a driving force to create something, as time passes, this eats away the creative soul until none is left and the heart becomes hollow.
I’ve talked to some filmmakers I know about why they engage in creating indie films when commercial films are more viable and can make them earn more. One filmmaker said that commercial films put food on the table, but indie films are food for the soul.
Another filmmaker shared that he makes films because he has a story to tell because he wants to give a voice to those who couldn’t speak for themselves. The phrase “magkuwento ng makabuluhan” struck me the most when I was listening to his interview with a media friend.
That phrase can be applied to any aspect of life. As a writer, I don’t just write because I can. I write because I need to tell a story. Holding a pen comes with responsibilities – to tell the truth, educate, touch hearts, to engage people in a conversation.
Writing reviews, for instance, can make or break someone else’s dream. There is a thin line between being critical and being downright obnoxious. There is a difference between being opinionated and being rude.
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Now, that the Cinemalaya fever has gone down a notch (though there are more exciting things to watch out for this year), I think I have some time to celebrate the Filipino creative soul at the MaArte at The Pen, the fund-raising bazaar happening from August 19 to 21, at The Peninsula Manila.
If I remember correctly, I was able to visit this unique bazaar in 2017, the first time it was held at the prestigious hotel in Makati. By then, it had evolved from a simple bazaar to raise funds for the National Museum to a veritable display of craftsmanship.
MaArte started in 2009 as a side event for HABI: 2nd ASEAN Traditional Textiles Symposium, an international conference focusing on the traditional textiles industry. The conference’s Market Encounter, where delegates could appreciate and acquire Philippine textiles and jewelry, grew into the bazaar we know today. After several iterations, it has been rebranded as MaArte at The Pen.
Like any live events, MaArte has been greatly affected by the pandemic. But here we are, after two years, MaArte is finally back on-site at The Pen.
Spearheaded by the Philippine Art Events Inc., the same group behind the Art Fair Philippines and Art in the Park, the 2022 edition brings back previous participants who offer a varied array of thoughtfully-made merchandise, as well as new participants who will present different elements.
There will be approximately 90 participants, featuring traditional Filipino crafts and designs, contemporary fashion, fabulous furniture pieces, and unique accessories.
Celebrating the genius of the newly-conferred National Artist Salvacion Lim Higgins, there will be a special exhibit featuring a vignette of ensembles by the National Artists. Featuring native textiles such as jusi, cutwork embroidery, and raffia trimming, dresses dating from 1952 to the early 1980s will be on view at The Lobby until August 27. Artist Mark Lewis Higgins, the late designer’s son, curates this special exhibit.
Another component of the bazaar is the PHxMaArte, a section on contemporary fashion, bringing contemporary Philippine fashion to the forefront. Working with the PHx Fashion Group, this section highlights the works of upcoming Filipino designers known for their unconventional lines and global mindsets. These include BAGASÁO, NeilFelipp, and Kelvin Morales, labels coming off stints at Tokyo Fashion Week. Jude Macasinag flies in Manifesto, recently presented for his bachelor’s graduation collection at the Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris.
The PHx Fashion Group also worked with fashion schools SoFA Design Institute, iAcademy, and DLSU-CSB Fashion Design Department to feature three graduates as part of the PHxMaArte selection.
There is also a lecture series, called MaArte Talks, which runs at 2:00 p.m. daily from August 19 to 21 at the hotel’s Salon de Ning. Topics are A Teapot’s Journey: A Brief History by Sheryl Ebon-Martinez; Philippine Design and Craft Today by Nazareno/ Lichauco, which is about insights, experiences, and practices regarding today’s Philippine contemporary craft and design landscape; and lastly, Paris & Manila: A Tale Of Two Cities: The Golden Age of Haute Couture on the Opposite Sides of the World, where designer Mark Lewis Higgins discusses the twilight of World War II, and the decade of 1947 to 1957, as a backdrop to two parallel stories and careers that were happening in two capital cities – Paris and Manila.
Proceeds will benefit the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, whose mission is to raise funds and awareness for the National Museum of the Philippines and its network.
For more information and updates, follow the MaArte Fair on Instagram @maartefair and Facebook at www.facebook.com/maartefair.