Expressions of Muslim culture at S Maison

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Mallgoers had a rare glimpse of Expressions of Muslim Culture during the recent Eid’l Fitr celebrations at S Maison at Conrad Manila. An exhibit highlighting Muslim calligraphy art featured the works of National Artist Abdulmari Imao, Davao artist Kublai Millan, and Persian calligraphy artist Tandis Taghavi, showing how art can unify all nations, all faiths, and all generations.

Spearheaded by the Magbassa Kita Foundation, Inc. (MKFI) and SM with support from Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID), the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos, the holding of the festivities in Manila is an excellent springboard to build better understanding and appreciation among Filipinos of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity in the country.

National Artist Abdulmari Imao was born in the Siasi Island in Sulu, but spent most of his growing up years in Pata, Jolo. He later sailed to Manila with the auspicious sarimanok on his shoulder.

Magbassa Kita Foundation, Inc. Chairperson Santanina Rasul, with daughter Fatima Rasul, son Mr. Amroussi Rasul with wife Cecille celebrating Eid’l Fitr Festival at S Maison, Conrad Manila. 

As a painter and a sculptor, Imao infused traditional Islamic design with modernist patterns, resulting in vivid works that yearn for local color and the dream of a unified nation.

Known for his unique adaptation of traditional Mindanaoan motifs like the sarimanok – the mythical bird with fish figure, Imao persevered to continue the carving and painting of his Tausug fore bearers with a modern sensibility by combining these motifs with cubism.  The recipient of numerous awards for his works, he was conferred the Order of the National Artist for sculpture in 2006.

Madame Tandis Taghavi’s style, strokes and techniques give audiences a glimpse of her country’s craftsmanship, ingenuity and cultural history. A holder of an extra excellent diploma in the Nastaaligh style in Persian calligraphy, her artworks also show that Persian calligraphy is one of the most revered arts in the Middle East.

Ray Mudjahid Ponce Millan or better known as Kublai showcased different mosque images in his canvas paintings – domes, minarets, and moons. 

Allah Calligraphy, 2012 by Abdulmari Asia Imao (Brass, 14.5 x 9.5 x 4 inches). 

Born in Cotobato City, he graduated from a Fine Arts course from the University of the Philippines, and then returned to Mindanao, painting and sculpting subjects relating to the culture of his hometown.

Kubali is known for two monumental works: Kampilan in the City of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and the Risen Christ in the church of Tagum City.  He also created the giant durian monument at Davao International Airport, as well as the giant eagle and Bagobo children in People’s Park, Davao City.

The Festival of the Breaking of the Fast or Eid’l Fitr is a worldwide celebration that marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.  It is an important event that usually falls on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar.  More than that, it is a time of joy, forgiving, and thanksgiving among Muslims as they take the occasion to strengthen the ties with family and friends, giving gifts and alms and feast together.

The Eid’l Fitr Festival is one of the many exciting cultural events at S Maison.  

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