Floral designs rework Filipino design motifs

FLORAL designer Rachy Cuna renders Filipino leitmotifs into colorful floral constructions in DramaCuna, originally installed at the National Museum and now running at the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences until June 15.

Cuna, who calls himself a floral architect, used materials native to the Philippines to promote the local crafts.

Upon entering the exhibit, visitors will immediately see the intricate “Kulasisi,” inspired by the bird of the same name. The work which uses bamboo, buri and fossilized roses shows interconnected baskets that represent the nest of the bird, which is endemic to the Philippines.

“Bola-bolahan” is made from bingo cards, bottle, chips, rice grain, nito, coconut ribs and metal to represent the favorite Filipino past-time. “Papalaot,” on the other hand, is composed of rattan, wood shavings, fossilized leaves and miniature decorative boats which Cuna bought from Palawan.

An installation composed of rattan, coconut fruits, husks and flowers and big bottles or demijohns is aptly titled “Tagay,” about the native lambanog, which is made from distilling the nectar from the coconut flower.

“Rafia Reef” is an artistic and colorful representation of Philippine marine life through the use of rafia, wood, abaca fiber and wood shavings to look like fish and underwater plants. Meanwhile “Karyoka” is a large scaled decorative rendition of the street food of the same name made of sweetened sticky rice, balled up and put on a stick. However, the piece is made up of nito, rattan fruits and grass.

Made of clay pots, rattan, paper flowers and harvested rice is “Pang-alay,” which evokes the ancient rituals of indigenous tribes, such as the Ifugao harvest ritual, and shows the staple food that Filipinos can’t live without.

“…Ni Neneng” is made of a curtain of bakya (native wooden slippers) and a group of batya at palo-palo (native metal basin and wooden laundry club). The installation is a composite of two folk songs, “Bakya ni Neneng” and “Batya’t Palo-palo.”

Cuna’s book, Adornments: A Floral Inspiration, was published by the UST Publishing House in 2007, with a foreword by Fr. Isidro Abano, O.P., director of the UST Museum. Maria Joanna Angela D. Cruz

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