Celebrating the Moro Arts with Manara Moro Interactive Art Exhibit at Ayala Museum

by - May 31, 2017

Having been to many cities in Mindanao, I am always in awe whenever I visit their museums and see its various art exhibits that is uniquely their own. Somehow I totally understand their history in many of its colorful arts. There’s more to Mindanao than what is portrayed of the island in the news. To quote Ayala Foundation Co-Chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala, there’s a ”rich and inspiring culture of Mindanao communities and the significant role the Moro culture plays in our country’s history and heritage.”

To celebrate the beauty of Moro arts and culture, the Ayala Foundation recently launched an interactive art installation of Moro Art by the two acclaimed Filipino artists Toym Imao and Lilianna Manahan who came together to celebrate Moro culture through Manāra. This interactive art installation officially opened on May 3, 2017 at the Ayala Museum Plaza.

Since biblical times, men have dared to build structures that soar to the skies, perhaps symbolizing an acknowledgement of something higher and beyond mortality. These human endeavors to reach the heavens to become closer to a creator, or a beacons of enlightenment have been men relentless goal.

Structures like the minaret found in surrounding mosques are the inspiration of this art installation. Manara is an Arabic word that means "lighthouse," where the term "Minaret" originates. These towers are used as a call to prayer and showcase the artistry of its builders. In this installation, the artists pay homage to the minaret, using it as a canvas to show a glimpse into Muslim Mindanao Culture.

Well represented by two artists from different backgrounds - one who was nurtured by Islamic traditions and the richness of the Moro culture of Mindanao, and the other bred by Christianity and modern design, they find common ground in addressing the issue of differences and conflict, and how a confluence of ideas borne from different perspectives can lead to unity amidst diversity.

From the handiwork of these two artists, the installation features 23 minarets and lanterns, as well as Moro textiles, wood and metal work, music, and indigenous patterns.

Guests enjoyed exploring the Manāra at the Ayala Museum Plaza which was showcased from May 3 to May 30. The installation will then be brought to key sites in Visayas and Mindanao later this year. Ayala Foundation has also partnered with the City Government of Marawi for the community-based Siyapen Drug Rehabilitation Center, which was started earlier this year.

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