New indigenous art exhibit features original Mindanao Talaandig tribe “soil artists”

SAN FRANCISCO — A group of soil artists from a tribe in Mindanao were in the Bay Area to showcase their works that reflect their tribe’s religion, values, and appreciation of their ancestors.

The “Post-Colonial Survival Kit” is the name of an art exhibit in San Francisco that explores the survival tactics of contemporary tribal and diasporic Filipinos against centuries of colonization.

It features artists from the Talaandig tribe in Mindanao, Philippines.

“They speak on what are the sustainable uses of art. They use everything that’s indigenous to their area, in terms of soil and glue. So all the art you see here is just soil and glue, no color, no paint.”

These visiting tribal artists from the Philippines are showcasing their internationally recognized soil paintings.

“Soil is where people step on it. We don’t really see how valuable it is. Sometimes we forget the basic things are the most important things in the world,” said Salima saway-Agra-An.

The paintings portray the inner beauty of those within the tribe.

“My favorite part of this picture is the face. She’s faceless, meaning to say whatever you are, whatever color you are, you’re beautiful.”

The stories and meanings of these paintings also reflect the tribe’s religion, values, and appreciation of ancestors.

“The title of this piece is ‘the flame of apu banbanuga bagyasan’. It’s really difficult for us with these new people, this new generation is out tribe to understand what is the main idea our elders would like to dig. It’s more on the spirituality of the value that’s they are talking about.”

“It’s very important to be connected to nature to respect and to keep the culture alive. So I can share to all the people of the world and the next generation in my tribe.”

Other artists featured in the exhibit are San Francisco-based Kimberley Arteche, Wilfred Galila, and Caroline Garcia.

The luggage store gallery in downtown San Francisco is hosting the exhibit from May 3rd to the 31st.

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