Researching about ivories in the Philippines has been eye-opening. Art in the Philippines seemed like a topic that was avoided in SEA art history – perhaps because it did not fit into the syllabus – but it did seem strange to leave out the Philippines when talking about South East Asia.
Through this presentation, I set out for myself to learn how art developed in that country through visual and contextual analysis. A big debate was about whether their religious ivory art has strong influences from its own country or was the Philippines merely a mass producer of these objects. From my research, it was hard to pinpoint styles or techniques that could be linked between traditional Filipino art and the ivories. That’s a debate not meant for a short reflection.
I really enjoyed pondering over these thoughts. Someone from the class claims that the Santos are Filipino art, but the style and techniques come from elsewhere. Rather, from what was said, the Filipinos tend to favor the Santos more than other cultures, so perhaps that is what gives them a sense of ownership over the Santos.
The Philippines has a long history of colonialism, rebellions, and wars. It would be interesting to learn more about what types of art came out of that period – maybe poems?