SF Asian Art Museum to celebrate Fil-Am History Month

/ 03:03 AM September 03, 2015


SAN FRANCISCO —The Asian Art Museum celebrates Filipino culture and heritage with events throughout September and October, culminating in the museum’s annual Filipino American History Month Celebration on Sunday, October 4.


The museum kicks off September with an in-gallery talk featuring renowned Filipino artist Manuel Ocampo. On Sept. 24, the museum opens Piña: An Enduring Philippine Fabric, an educational display focused on the rich tradition of Philippine weavings and textiles.

Then on October 1 the museum will host a film screening of “An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines.” From September 4 to October 11, visitors can view artworks by Ocampo and Filipino artist Norberto Roldan in the new exhibition First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian.


Event details follow. Programs are subject to change. For updates, visit www.asianart.org or call 415.581.3500.

First Look @ First Look

Featuring renowned Filipino artist Manuel Ocampo

Thursday, Sep. 3, 6–9 PM, free with museum admission ($5 after 5 PM)

Be the first to see the Asian Art Museum’s new exhibition First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian. The evening’s centerpiece will be a conversation with First Look artists Manuel Ocampo and Chen Man, moderated by Dr. Karin Oen, assistant curator of contemporary art, at 7 PM. Grab a drink at the cash bar, listen to beats by Hakobo, and be inspired.

First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian

Sept. 4–Oct. 11, 2015


Special exhibition galleries, free with museum admission

For the first time, the Asian Art Museum presents a large-scale exhibition of 57 contemporary highlights from the museum’s collection in First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian. Don’t miss artworks by Manuel Ocampo and Norberto Roldan, two representative Filipino artworks in the collection. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Piña: An Enduring Philippine Fabric

Thursday, Sept. 24–Sunday, Oct. 11, daily 10 AM–5 PM, Thursdays 10 AM­–9 PM

Resource Center, free with museum admission

Celebrate the tradition of Philippine weavings and textiles through Piña: An Enduring Philippine Fabric, an educational display on piña in the museum’s Resource Center.  Presented in partnership with Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., the display shares the history and evolution of this unique fabric woven from pineapple leaf fibers and illustrates the process of turning these fibers into fine threads. The exhibition includes examples of piña made in the 1930s, during its heyday as elegant wear for prominent Filipino and American women.

Film Screening

An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines

Thursday, Oct. 1, 7–8:30 PM

Education Studios, free with museum admission ($5 after 5 PM)

Prior to 1941, the Philippines provided a haven for Jews fleeing Nazi persecution, saving more than 1,300 lives. “An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines,” a film by Noel M. Izon and Sharon Delmendo, tells this remarkable but little-known story. Co-presented with The Contemporary Jewish Museum.


Asian Art Museum Filipino American History Month Program

Ugnayan Lahi: Weaving a Cultural Tapestry

Sunday, Oct. 4, 10:30 AM–4 PM

Museum-wide, admission free courtesy of Target

Our annual celebration of Filipino American heritage explores the past, present and future of Filipino art and culture in the Bay Area. This year’s theme is “Ugnayan Lahi,” the weaving of a cultural tapestry between generations. Longtime leaders and rising artists will share philosophies of community, art and language, reflecting on 400 years of Filipino American history. The museum will also commemorate a significant milestone: 50 years ago, the 1965 Immigration Act ended a restrictive quota system, sparking a surge of immigration that resulted in a vibrant Bay Area Filipino community. Leaders Mel Orpilla and Kae Hope Echiverri Ranoa (aka “Hopie”) will emcee.

Opening Ceremony

Featuring Panawag, the Summoning of the Gods

11 AM–12 PM, Samsung Hall

The opening ceremony kicks off with Panawag, the summoning of the gods, to ensure the day’s festivities overflow with life, color and abundance. Through dance and music, participants present seven auspicious offerings: rice, water, sugarcane, betel nut, fire, salt and sulang-sulang, a traditional headgear worn by deities. The ceremony, choreographed by artist Jay Loyola, concludes with the tying of the “lubid,” a ceremonial rope to represent the weaving of past and present Filipino American traditions.

Philippine Consul General Henry Bensurto, Jr., Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum, and Major General Antonio Taguba, AARP community ambassador, will be on hand to welcome guests. Attorney and historian Rodel Rodis will introduce the program theme and provide historical context. Concluding the ceremony, folk and blues music by community leaders Vangie Buell and Terry Bautista will get your feet tapping and your hands clapping.

Isang Himig A Capella

12–2 PM, throughout the museum

Hear singing in the galleries? That’s Isang Himig, a multicultural a cappella group from the University of California, Santa Cruz, associated with the University’s Filipino Student Association. Isang Himig, which means “one voice” in Tagalog, aims to spread awareness of Filipino American culture through their harmonies. You’ll find the group singing throughout the museum, bringing music to typically quiet spaces.

Artist Demonstration and Hands-on Activities

12–4 PM, North Court

Watch artists Kristian Kabuay and Lane Wilken create magic with words as they demonstrate Babayin calligraphy, the ancient native writing system of the Philippines. Then try out your own artistic skills with a hands-on activity.

Rondalla Music

2–2:30 & 3–3:30 PM, North Court

Be immersed in the vibrant sounds of the rondalla, a stringed instrument ensemble brought to the Philippines during Spanish colonization that evolved into a distinctive style. Performers come from the American Center of Philippine Arts, a local nonprofit that provides young people the opportunity to learn about the country’s history and culture through dance, music and the arts.

YouTube Showcase of Local Filipino Music Videos

12:30–1:30 and 3:30–4 PM, Samsung Hall

Find a new favorite tune and get your groove on. Lawyer and musician Kae Hope Echiverri Ranoa (aka “Hopie”) curates a YouTube playlist of local, contemporary Filipino music videos.

Panel Discussion: Community Organizing through the Generations

2–3 PM, Samsung Hall

Learn about Filipino American history from the 1700s to the present day through a presentation and panel discussion by local activists, academics and artists. James Sobredo shares early Filipino American history, community leaders Terry Bautista and Vicky Santos talk about activism in the mid-20th century, and hip-hop artist Mario de Mira (aka “Nomi”) delves into the contemporary scene.


Table Presentations

11 AM–4 PM, Loggia

Dynamic displays presented by local education organizations provide background on Filipino art, culture and history. Topics include 100 years of Filipino American history, the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center, the “How My Family Came to America” essay project and more.

Filipino Arts Storytelling Tours

10:30 AM, 1 and 3 PM

Meet at the information desk

Docent Tours: Filipino Arts

11:30 AM and 2:30 PM

Meet at the information desk

Gallery Talk: The Art of Piña Cloth

12:30–1 and 3:30–4 PM, Resource Center

Explore the exquisite tradition of piña, a unique fabric woven from pineapple fibers. Fashion designer and activist Patis Tesoro and editor Edwin Lozada discuss Piña: An Enduring Philippine Fabric, led by Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., which educates the public about this rich cultural practice.

“Target First Free Sundays” — free general admission on the first Sunday of every month and the family programs offered on that day — are made possible by Target.

Additional support for the Asian Art Museum’s Filipino American History Month Celebration is generously provided by AARP.

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TAGS: “An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines, events, Filipino American History Month Celebration, Filipino culture art exhibit Asian Art Museum, First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian, Manuel Ocampo, Norberto Roldan, SF Asian Art Museum
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