Saturday, March 11, 2006

I'm now 60 pages into KAPWA: The Self in Others. For a reader in the diaspora like me who has been away for almost 25 years and whose connections to the homeland is held tenuously by family, a few friends, and popular media (sporadically accessed), and one Philippine-based listserve, it is soul-nourishing to read about Filipinos like Roberto Villanueva -- an artist who used, exclusively, found indigenous materials, always involved the community's rituals and dreams, expressed the wholistic view of KAPWA. Katrin included photographs of Villanueva's art installations. As I meditate on these images, I am touched by the same Spirit that must have been Villanueva's inspiration as well. Still, these words are not enough to convey the experience.

Katrin says it well when she talks about "tacit understanding" as pakikiramdaman - that deep feeling that connects us, not just to other human beings, but to all that exists in nature - above, below and in all directions.

In light of the recent depressing news about the latest coup against GMA, this book reminds me/us that if only we look deep and close enough, we can still access the Filipino as a mythic man (NVM Gonzalez' term)...as a beacon of hope. Katrin writes: we are sick, but we aren't dying yet. Look to the Filipino artist-culture bearer for healing.

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