NEW YORK – The Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) celebrated Filipino culture on Sunday, Feb. 19 with a full day program that focused on special events and workshops that highlighted Filipino art, food, music and history.
Potri Ranka Manis and her group, Kinding Sindaw led the performances while Chef Neil Syham and his team at Lumpia Shack provided the food part of the celebration. Ms. Manis, the Founder, Tradition-Bearer and Artistic Director of Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage Theater engaged the children with various folklores and stories of legends as she and her group showcased a couple of dances as well as traditional Filipino martial arts.
Consul General Theresa Dizon-De Vega opened the Philippine Day with a brief show and tell for the audience on the Philippines. She told the audience, composed mainly of young children and their parents, that the Philippines is one of the most diverse countries in the world, a place where East and West meet and where various cultures are welcomed and celebrated.
CMA Director for Community Programs Michelle Lopez thanked all the guests and participants for spending the day at the museum and taking an active part in the various activities featuring the Philippines.
The Children’s Museum of the Arts is a nonprofit arts facility that brings hands-on art programming to children throughout New York City. The museum’s staff of practicing teaching artists guide and mentor young artists ages 10 months to 15 years through fun and advanced art projects, ranging in a variety of techniques and mediums.
“Once in a while, we focus on one country to highlight so that our members and the children who come visit will learn about other cultures,” Lopez said. This activity is in line with the museum’s mission to introduce children and their families to the transformative power of the arts by providing opportunities to make art side-by-side with working artists.
Among the art workshops offered include, a clay-making workshop at the Clay Bar where children were able to sculpt their very own tiny islands inspired by the geography of the Philippines; a stop-animation lab where kids learn about the rich biodiversity and variety of animals and creatures that live in the waters of the Sulu Sea; and at the Sound Lab where the children are able to create their very own soundscape inspired by the dense world found inside the Luzon Rainforest.
On the other side of the museum is the Fine Arts Studio, which focused on Kut-Kut Inspired Art. Kut-kut is the ancient Philippine artistic practice that is made by layering sgraffito and surface inlay to create a textured illusion of dimension on a flat surface. In celebration of the Filipino Cultural Festival, CMA visitors were able to make their own Kut-kut inspired prints and learn about the technique that influenced contemporary Filipino artists, such as Elito Circa.
CMA visitors were also able to create their own shadow action figures, inspired by the work of contemporary Filipino artist Ronald Ventura. Children had to look closely at Ventura’s fiberglass sculpture titled “Shadows” so they can build a 3D silhouette of their own shadow in motion using wire, tape and recycled materials. This specific activity will be ongoing in the museum until the end of the month.’
Consul General Dizon-De Vega assisted by her daughter Montserrat turned over a Philippine doll handcrafted by Anthill Fabric Gallery of Cebu and a book for children on Philippine architecture as donations to the CMA collection.
The CMA event provided an important opportunity for Philippine culture and arts to be introduced to young Filipino-Americans and mainstream audiences.