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(2 September 2022, Singapore) – The Philippine Embassy in Singapore attended the Southeast Asian Art Forum 2022 held on 4-5 August 2022 at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).

The said forum featured the Philippines’ Itneg weaving tradition through an excerpt of the contemporary dance performance Kathabi – a multidisciplinary collaboration among NAFA, the University of the Philippines, and the Revival Dye Cooperative of the province of Abra, and  which was closely coordinated with the leaders of the indigenous peoples from the mountainous province of Abra in the northern part of Luzon, Philippines.

NAFA’s dance and fashion departments’ staff, students, and alumni participated in this dance theater performance that recreated Itneg’s folktales about the origins of weaving.

NAFA Dance Programme Senior Lecturer Dr. Filomar Cortezano Tariao and Ms. Georgette Yu, Domain Co-ordinator (Fashion) and Lecturer at NAFA Fashion Studies Programme closely worked with the leaders of the Itneg people in order to come up with the choreography and the performers’ costume design which used fabrics that featured traditional handwoven embroidery and tie-dye patterns unique to the ethnic group. Both fashion students designed and manipulated these textiles in non-conventional ways for sustainable practice, while musicians mixed tribal with contemporary instruments to compose music for the choreography. This concept was conceived amidst the challenges of a global health crisis through virtual cross-cultural discussion of all parties involved. Both Dr. Tariao and Ms. Yu also shared their experience in creating this program after the dance performance.

Organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Arts (ISEAA) at NAFA, this 2-day hybrid event focused on the concept of sustainability and highlighted some of the ways where art can be the foundation of sustainable practices in Southeast Asia, as well as one of the means to build responsible global citizenship. Included in this year’s speaker was Vietnamese artist Uudam Tran Nguyen who presented Eco-Đi, an artwork used as a powerful tool for environmental intervention. Other artists, academic researchers, and creative professionals from around Southeast Asia were present onsite and online for a dialogue in sharing experience and discourse on the role of the arts, culture, and its contemporary practices and education as a catalyst for social transformation and sustainability. – END

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