Filipino arts and culture in the spotlight

The Bay Area’s 300,000-plus Filipino-Americans are celebrating their culture and historic connections with the U.S. in October.

Filipino American History Month festivities began with last weekend’s Cal Performances season opener featuring the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company, and continue with special programming at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

Events and activities highlight  423 years of connections that began with early sea voyages. Filipinos were the first Asians to cross the Pacific Ocean, as early as 1587, some 50 years before the first English settlement of Jamestown. From 1565 to 1815, during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, Filipinos worked as sailors and navigators on board Spanish galleons, some landing in Morro Bay.

A focal point of the celebrations includes a “Target First Free Sunday” at the Asian Art Museum, featuring no admission charge for exhibits and special events such as music, artist displays and demonstrations, films, talks by visiting scholars and activities for children.

Among Philippine artworks on view in Southeast Asian galleries, of special interest are new acquisitions including a ceremonial food serving set from Mindanao, and the 18th-century oil painting on wood panel — from a climate where paintings have a short lifespan — “Saint Isadore the Farmer and Worshipers in a Field.”

Fernando Amorsolo’s more contemporary 1955 oil on canvas “Farmers Working and Resting” is also on view.

Other notable Sunday events include:

– Remarks by Consul General of the Philippines Marciano Paynor Jr., Asian Art Museum Director Jay Xu and Asian Art Museum Commissioner Carmen Colet at 11 a.m.

– Artist Arvin Flores with samples of his abstract paintings, from noon to 3 p.m.

– Artist Christian Cabuay and his artwork, which is influenced by the Philippine Baybayin (ancient script), from noon to 4 p.m.

– Kulayan painters Christopher de Leon, James (gaNyan) Garcia and Miguel “Bounce” Perez, from noon to 2 p.m.

– Tattoo artists led by Aleks Figueroa of Dream Jungle Tattoo, creating tribal tattoos for the contemporary Filipino Diaspora, with a demonstration and lecture, from noon to 3 p.m.

– Displays from local Filipino community organizations, from 3 to 3:30 p.m.

– Excerpts from the contemporary Tagalog song cycle “Lalawigan,” by the Florence Aguilar Ensemble, with Aguilar (guitar), Kristine Sinajon (mezzo), Giovanni Ortega (baritone), Ron Quesada (octavina), Jessica Ivry (cello) and Sage Baggott (percussion), at 3 p.m.

IF YOU GO
Filipino American History Month celebration

Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: Free
Contact: (415) 581-3500, www.asianart.org

Art & MuseumsartsAsian Art MuseumentertainmentNEP

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