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New exhibit in San Francisco highlights ancient Philippine script Baybayin

Rommel Conclara | TFC News San Francisco

Posted at Oct 06 2022 08:18 PM

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A monthlong exhibit featuring the pre-colonial Philippine script known as Baybayin was recently launched at the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco.

The 'CalligraFilipino Six: Baybayin Fine Art Exhibition' was created by Filipino visual artist Taipan Lucero.

He hopes the exhibit informs the Filipino American community about the rich history of the Philippines.

"I want to show the world that our ancestors were literate. They knew how to read, how to write regardless if they were young, they were children, they were women, they were men. Our society back then was egalitarian. So you didn't necessarily have to be elite to read or write," Lucero said.

"Another important aspect that I wanted to showcase is how beautiful our culture is. I try to incorporate as many cultural elements as possible. You have anything from Luzon, to the Visayas, to Mindanao. I try to mix these cultural icons."

Lucero is a recipient of the 2022 Competitive Grants Program of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Philippine government's main cultural agency.

Consul general Neil Ferrer said Lucero's exhibit is consistent with the consulate's mission to highlight the culture of the Philippines to both Filipinos and non-Filipinos in the US.

"Through this exposition, we're hoping, of course, to promote Baybayin and for Philippine arts, Philippine culture, Philippine history to be widely known to the Filipino American community," Ferrer noted.

A main attraction Lucero provides in all his exhibits is the opportunity for guests to write their name in Baybayin.

"People feel they are also in ancient times where we were writing like this. I think it's a fun idea. I hope people also enjoy experiencing it because I’m not the only one writing in Baybayin so everyone gets to participate," he said.

The art exhibit is one of many cultural celebrations as the US celebrates Filipino American History Month.