Capturing the Essence of Feminism Through Artworks in the Philippines
In this modern day and age, it is integral that everyone has the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. An equal society is a healthy society, and here at Brittany, our goal is to celebrate feminism in the country and to support the struggle by presenting its essence in a medium that many of us are familiar with — artworks in the Philippines.
Recognized as International Women’s Month, the month of March is an opportune time for us to contribute to the fight for equality. After all, only with equality can people come together to build a proper future for everyone.
Today, we will tackle feminism in the Philippines, its history of struggles, present accomplishments, and challenges for the future. We will also discuss how feminism is advanced through art, a medium that is easily accessible to people of all ages. Finally, we will show how Brittany holds the same goals and principles as this noble cause.
Feminism in the Philippines
Feminism in this country has an interesting and gripping history. Here’s a quick review of what the past, present, and future hold for the feminist ideal of equality.
A Quick Run-Down of Feminism in the Philippines
Contrary to popular belief, various tribes in the Philippines already had a remarkably progressive outlook on how both sexes function in society even before the Spaniards first colonized the country.
During this pre-colonization period, anthropologists and historians alike noticed that tribal men and women enjoyed the same property rights, access to resources, and recognition as their counterparts. They had no obvious bias against women, who were even free to be educated and elected as leaders in both religion and politics.
But when the Spaniards came, they realized that this form of equality would make it more difficult to subjugate the population. The introduction of Roman Catholicism essentially started the erosion of equality in native communities.
Female spiritual leaders and community healers were charged with witchcraft. Women were denied jobs. The Church espoused an ideal that put men as the primary provider and women as stay-at-home mothers.
These ideas lasted not only for 300 years but also until today. Bits and pieces of this colonial-era mentality towards the role of the sexes can still be observed in the modern world.
However, women have been making remarkable strides in taking back their rightful position in society, ever since their struggle for the right to vote in 1937. Since then, gender-conscious historians have noted that although history was mostly silent about them, women had never stopped being pillars of their community. One example is in the book Amazons of the Huk Rebellion, which detailed how women were central to the Filipino’s struggle against the Japanese occupation in the 1940s.
Filipino Feminism Today
Today, the continuing women’s struggle has afforded the modern Filipina a much better outlook on life than their ancestors during the colonial and post-colonial eras.
For one, women have been consistently excelling in the area of education. Today’s educational system defends equality for both sexes, and in it we see women thrive. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, as of 2008, nine out of ten female adolescents (or 86.4%) are functionally literate, which means they’re able to read, write, and compute.
In addition to this, although many industries are still dominated by men, women have experienced a significant rise in terms of business and employment opportunities. A lot of top executives are women, and the barriers that women face in the workplace are minimized, if not steadily reduced altogether.
Women are also seeing an advancement in politics. Over the years, many women have been involved in leading the country, whether in high or low positions. The government has also passed laws meant to protect women, such as the VAWC act, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 (RA. 9262), and the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.
All of these goes to say that at present, the feminist movement in the country has achieved marvelous things to forward the idea of feminism, which is equal rights for all. However, the struggle is far from over, and we see this in the challenges that the movement is continuing to encounter at present.
Challenges for the Future
As mentioned above, the feminist movement in the country has championed equal rights for women over the past several decades. It has addressed sexual and gender-related violence, improved access to health and contraception, and even championed the right to equal pay and compensation in the workplace.
However, this does not mean that the struggle is done. There are still hurdles to conquer and challenges to overcome.
For instance, there’s the issue of reproductive health. Not all women have fair and equal access to contraception. While those who live in luxury homes in the metro may be more exposed to this topic, those who live in the countryside and other remote places tend to be less knowledgeable about it. For most of the Philippines, family planning is still an ongoing battle against the antiquated beliefs rooted in systemic sexism.
Injustices against women, specifically women below the poverty line, are still rampant. Emerging issues dealing with sexuality are still being swept under the rug in favor of antiquated colonialist beliefs about sex and marriage and the ‘role’ of women in society and the home.
All of this goes to show that the advancement of feminism in the Philippines is still an ongoing battle. And like many battlefronts, such as politics or the economy, it may be complicated and even hard to navigate for the average Juan or Maria.
However, there is something that makes the ideals of feminism more understandable to Filipinos: the emergence of feminist artworks in the Philippines.
The Feminism Ideals Present in the Artworks in the Philippines
Art is something that we can all appreciate. Observing the beauty in every detail of an art piece can help us experience things we’ve never experienced before. With this, we begin to feel, we begin to think, and then we begin to question.
The appreciation of beauty is fundamental in every human being. For us, beautiful things always mean something.
This is why art is the perfect medium to express a sentiment.
Filipino feminist art, for instance, reflects the struggle for equality in ways that elicit beauty to drive a point and to keep the audience engaged. This type of art, distinguished by its focus on feminist issues such as rights and the role of women in society, can help move the feminist movement in the country forward.
In this section, we’re going to present several examples of feminist artworks in the Philippines and how their ideals are related to our own goals with our luxury homes here at Brittany.
Filipina: A Racial Identity Crisis by Pacita Abad – Beauty in Art
Pacita Abad’s Filipina: A Racial Identity Crisis
Pacita Abad is a well-renowned artist and activist. She has over 4,500 artworks that have made their rounds in galleries, museums, and exhibitions throughout the world. Abad went to the US to study law before deciding to switch careers and pursue art instead.
Her art pieces tell the story of various women she meets in her everyday life and during her travels through paintings, drawings, or trapunto paintings—also known as paintings that have stitched and stuffed canvases to mimic a 3D look.
Abad’s art is freely dotted with various materials such as mirrors, shells, buttons, mirrors, and traditional beads, exhibiting a free and resourceful spirit. She tries to deconstruct how identity is formed, especially in the backdrop of male-dominated experiences, sexual violence and exploitation against women, and the unique difficulties that women face when they travel overseas for work.
Just like Pacita Abad, it’s also Brittany’s goal to carefully deconstruct the commonly-held notions about what it means to have a good life. Unlike others who merely focus on things like security and convenience, we believe that beauty is the missing ingredient to the recipe for creating a good life.
A beautiful life is a good life, which is why we add beauty in every detail of the luxury homes that we create.
Yuta Collection by Julie Lluch – Artworks in the Philippines Representing Women
Julie Lluch’s Yuta Collection
Julie Lluch is an ardent feminist and a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas. She helped introduce the national feminist movement to the arts and was one of the first feminist artists to proactively raise feminist issues with her artwork. She was also one of the people who founded the Kalayaan and Kasibulan Women Artists Collective.
Lluch is primarily a sculptor, and she made sure to include feminism as an integral part of her art. Her work raises concerns about distinctly feminist-related themes such as the role of women in modern society, and thought-provoking pieces about religious conviction and interpersonal relationships.
Created from indigenous clay that hearkens back to our ancestral roots, conveys environmental awareness, and results in a sensuous sculpture all at once, her Yuta collection embodies the roles that Filipinas played in major revolutions that shaped the future of the country.
Here at Brittany, we share the same love and connection that Lluch displayed towards her works and her ideals.
Our luxury homes for sale blend environmental awareness with a certain kind of sensuousness to their design, from the Italian-inspired Vista Alabang to the Southern American aesthetics of the Georgia Club. We use art to recognize the role of beauty in our lives much like Lluch uses her feminist art to recognize the role of Filipas in years past.
A Line of History by Karen Ocampo Flores – Filipino Art as a Symbol of National Pride
Karen Ocampo Flores’s A Line of History
Karen Ocampo Flores is a graduate of the University of the Philippines. She is an activist who has established the organization Surge with international artists from Australia and Singapore. Surge runs a forum on the internet that tracks the five Rs of social reality: Race, Religion, Region, Rhetoric and Realities.
Aside from this, Flores has also co-founded the art collectives Grupong Salingpusa and Sanggawa, both of which are heavily involved in political artworks in the Philippines.
Her body of work deals mainly with the complexities of identity formation, especially for women. This particular piece by Flores depicts two Filipina women, one in indigenous attire and another in traditional Catholic garb.
The beauty of her work is that it depicts the idea of a Filipina as not just a monolithic concept, but also as a complex being composed of many interrelated parts that don’t give a clear definition of which is which.
Brittany, too, places a lot of value in complexity. In our quest for beauty, we recognize that it doesn’t just come in a single big package. Oftentimes, it comes in a collection of smaller, but just as special, bundles.
Beauty is found in different things, which is why we have different themes for our developments. Southern American, classic French, and Old English Manors are just a few of the different ways we recognize and express beauty here at Brittany.
The Whisper by Kitty Taniguchi – Artworks in the Philippines Challenging the Norm
Kitty Taniguchi’s The Whisper
Kitty Taniguchi had always loved drawing and painting ever since she was a child. This interest eventually led to her entering the Philippine art stage around the ‘80s.
Her work is heavily inspired by philosophy, literature, iconography, rites of passage, and the complicated issues of womanhood, as conveyed in the various displays of her artworks in the Philippines.
Taniguchi’s paintings often depict the various, nuanced experiences of how it’s like to be a woman, showing female subjects in different scenarios.
Two recurring characters in her works, the unicorn and the lion, are said to symbolize the two sides of a woman: the gentleness and subtlety, as well as the inherent fierceness in each one. Her art breaks conventions on commonly-held beliefs about the life of women in the modern world and displays the challenges of being a woman in this day and age.
At Brittany, we also love challenging common conventions. Our Belle Reve development sports a theme that is rarely seen elsewhere in the country. The distinct and clashing rustic elegance of the French countryside merges together with modern architectural sensibilities, resulting in truly beautiful and unique luxury homes in the Philippines.
Experiencing Everyday Life as Art
If you look at Brittany’s luxury house and lot, you’ll see that, indeed, there is beauty in every detail. We not only celebrate art and feminist ideals here at Brittany, we also aim is to express beauty in every aspect of our creations. From every important decision to every artistic detail of our developments, it’s our goal to make your living environment not just look beautiful, but feel beautiful as well.
Living in a Brittany development will be like immersing yourself in artworks in the Philippines. With the picturesque surroundings, the elegant dwellings, and the smiling, happy faces of our residents, one could say that living and breathing within one of our luxury homes is like living in a masterpiece.