By Malvina Wong, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Oct. 30, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO – It was a grand showcase of Filipino arts and culture at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum – all part of the museum’s celebration of Filipino-American Heritage Month.
The Filipino-American Heritage Month month celebration was off to a great start, thanks to efforts by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, to become a city hub for Filipino arts and culture.
“We want the museum to be a place where the Filipino-American community feels comfortable, feels like the museums is a place where they can celebrate their heritage, and also celebrate the new art that is coming out either from the Philippines or being made by Filipino-Americans,” said Deborah Clearwaters, of the Asian Art Museum.
A diverse crowd representing the city’s many ethnic groups filled the exhibit floor – hundreds of them eager to learn about Pinoy art forms that have been passed down through generations.
“This year in particular, the name is ‘Tulay,’ which means ‘bridge’ in Ilonggo, Bisaya and Tagalog, and it’s really trying to bridge different generations,” said Teresita Bautista, community educator.
San Francisco resident Gary Larioza says this even was the perfect chance to expose his American-born daughter Sofia to her Filipino heritage.
“I came here when I was 16, so I identify myself being Filipino,” said Larioza, “and for her to be born here, I know that it’s important for her to know her roots as well.”
Artists and artisans have also found a place in this community to express their love for traditional arts, and they’ve made it their mission to preserve them.
“Tradition indigenous art has a place in the world, and if you do not claim that as Filipinos, and we do not support it, own it, or practice it, it is going to disappear,” said Lozada.
“By understanding and appreciating their roots, they will be able to succeed in a more forceful and important way in whatever endeavors they have in the future,” said Henry Bensurto Jr., SF Philippine Consulate General.
For people who came to the Asian Art Museum, the experience was more than just celebrating diversity in San Francisco. It was a way to promote the arts and culture of Filipinos, who have emerged as the second largest Asian group in the city.