Art of ancient Pinoy textiles, tattoos featured at SF museum

SAN FRANCISCO – The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco continued its annual celebration of Filipino American History Month with a series of unique events to educate and enlighten the public.

Among the biggest attractions is an educational display featuring the tradition of Philippine weaving and textiles using piña fabric.

Visitors learned of the history and evolution of this unique material woven from pineapple leaf fibers from experts.

“If you check it out, I mean the craftsman ship, it’s not only a good designer who did it but also it’s actually environmental friendly because its made out of pineapple,” said Natasha Romanoff.

Non-Filipinos, who were new to piña fabric, said they found it fascinating.

“This is really amazing to see how intricate it is – the process of it and how natural it is,” said Linda Marty. “That’s what I really like about it, no chemicals involved and everything is purely from nature.”

“Learning about it and seeing the video on how it was made was really helpful,” said Linda’s daughter Samantha Marty.

Filipino tattoo practitioners also taught museum patrons about the integral role tattoos played in pre-colonization Filipino history.

“Before the islands were named after Prince Philip of Spain, the islands were first called by the Spaniards “Las Islas De Los Pintados” – the islands of the painted people because of the abundance of tattooing that was found in our islands,” said tattoo practitioner Lane Wilcken. “I think that surprised a lot of people and brought a little bit of light to their eyes of who we are and that this is not something for a sub-cultural, or a sign of defiance or a criminal. Tattoo is actually a symbol of our legacy.”

Filipino American Asian Art Commissioner Carmen Colet also presented a $10,000 check to the Asian Art Museum for the Filipino Art Acquisition Fund, which helps build the permanent contemporary art collection at the museum.

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