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Pinoy artist highlights Philippine arts and culture in US-PIA

CHICAGO, Mar. 3 -- Renowned Manila-born artist Fred DeAsis presented a workshop on the Philippines' ancient lost art and a forgotten writing system dating back to early century at the Skokie Public Library in Skokie. The featured cultural workshop held on February 26 was one of the highlights of the Village's annual cultural program -- "Coming Together in Skokie".

The hands-on workshop included a brief history of "Kut-kut", the ancient lost art and "Baybayin", an ancient writing system commonly used during pre-colonial years in the Philippines. During the session, participants wrote and translated Baybayin written words. They used replicas of ancient tools and were taught techniques to create kut-kut art.

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Baybayin is a writing system commonly used during pre-colonial Philippines It is one of many writing systems used in Southeast Asia. The origin could be traced back from north central India were artifacs in Brahmic writing system were found dated as early as 3rd century BCE.

Kut-kut is an ancient Philippines art style and technique based on early century Oriental and European art forms. Specific designs represent the identity of a tribal unit on the island. The uniqueness of the art form is the story it presents. It has been kept alive by passing it on through the generations. It is described as a production of interwoven lines and multi-layered textures. Artisans from Samar province, one of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, were known for their kut-kut artistry.

"I am so delighted to learn a bit of history of the Philippines. Mr. DeAsis presented with passion and keen knowledge of the Philippine's art and culture," said Sue Snowdon of Morton Grove. "The workshop made me aware of how fascinating other cultures are. Very enlightening indeed."

presented a workshop on the Philippines' ancient lost art and a forgotten writing system
dating back to early century at the Skokie Public Library in Skokie.

Fred DeAsi one of the most prolific Filipino-American artists in America. He is well known for his traveling Kut-kut cultural art exhibits and Philippine art and culture lectures in universities and other learning institutions. He was the recipient of 2006 Filipino-American Hall of Fame and the 2007 Asian-American Hall of Fame awards for outstanding achievement of an individual in promoting arts and culture in North America. In 2008, he was given the Distinguished Citizen award by the Philippine American Cultural Foundation for his annual arts and cultural projects for the community.

Last year, he received the much coveted 2010 CFO Presidential Award from the president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, for outstanding achievement and service in the field of Arts and Culture. The international award is given every two years to highly selected individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements on their given field. Last year's awards were presented to 24 recipients from 13 countries.

"I thought I knew a lot about the Philippines," said Chicago's Alfonso Ruzado. "These are new to me. Way back during my younger years in Manila, none of our text books even mentioned about our ancient writing system and the lost art. I learned something today. The workshop was great. Fred is so dedicated about the Philippine arts and culture, he is a rare bird."

"Wow! I did not know I can do art," exclaimed 16 years old, Jan Brent of Skokie, as she posed for a cellphone photo shoot with her artwork. "I like kut-kut art technique, it is different. The session was fun and educational. Baybayin is cool too. I am hoping the library will have more of this kind of workshop."

"Coming Together in Skokie" is on its second year. Each year, Skokie will highlight different culture in their richly diverse community to build knowledge, awareness and appreciation of different backgrounds and weave the community more closely into vibrant tapestry. The celebration started in the first week of February and ends on mid March. A fine art exhibit by 4 Filipino artists -- Silvano, Balan, DeAsis and Sta.Ana is on going until March 13. The celebration also includes book reading by Philippine authors, native cooking activities, movies, crafts shows, cultural music and native dance presentations.

Additional information about the artist and his current activities can be found on his Facebook account. (PIA)

Source: Philippine Information Agency, 3 March 2011
Link: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=20203

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