FITE in Manila comes to a close
People from all walks of life gained a greater appreciation for culture and heritage through textile as the Festival international des textiles extra ordinaries (FITE) ended its run in Manila.
Organized by the Embassy of France to the Philippines, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and HABI: The Philippine Textile Council from July 7 to 12, the FITE is a festival that originated in Clermont-Ferrand, France in 2012 to highlight the role of textiles in traditional and contemporary culture and to provide a venue for artists from all over the world to come together and learn about their craft through artist talks, workshops, and other activities.
The FITE officially opened in Manila with an evening reception attended by French Ambassador Gilles Garachon, NCCA Chairman Felipe de Leon, Jr., Central Bank of the Philippines Governor Amado Tetangco, Jr., Metropolitan Museum of Manila President Tina Colayco, HABI President Maria Isabel Ongpin, Isabelle Laveste and Régis Besse of the French city of Clermont-Ferrand, Bargoin Museum curator Christine Bouilloc and FITE curator Christine Athenor. Other guests included Chilean Ambassador, Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Lourdes Montinola, Irene Marcos, and designer Jojie Lloren.
Using wires, bobbins, pins, and a foam board, Armel Barraud of France shared her craft of creating patterns through the spindle lace technique in workshops held at Craft MNL and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. Meanwhile, Filipino artist Ryan Villamael used a different medium of artistic expression – the creation of patterns by cutting through paper. Japanese contemporary bamboo artist Ueno Masao created, together with Filipino participants, a jellyfish-shaped sculpture now on display at the MET Museum.
In two fashion shows held during the opening night cocktails of the FITE and at the SM Aura Premier, four designers highlighted the essence of the FITE, which was to present the diverse cultures of their countries of origins through clothing. One of the country’s leading fashion designers, Patis Tesoro, bared her collection of traditional designs made of piña fibers.
Dr. Kinor Jiang and Tsang Fanyu of Hong Kong presented both colourful and metallic contemporary pieces. Carmen Rion showcased the culture of Mexico to Manila through her designs that were inspired by the landscapes of her country and by the indigenous Mayan women she would work with in producing her clothing line.
Carmen Rion also led a workshop with aspiring Filipino designers who learned to use landscapes as an inspiration in creating clothing designs.
Anna Paini of the University of Verona, Italy discussed the role of women in the re-appropriation of mission dresses by the Kanak women of New Caledonia as a cultural object signifying their national identity and heritage conducted at the UP Vargas Museum. Robert Lane, president of the Silahis Arts and Artifacts organization, shared the history of basketry in the Philippines.
Moreover, in promoting the Filipino public’s appreciation for indigenous artistry, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) invited several indigenous weaver artists from South Cotabato, Mountain Province, Kalinga, Zamboanga del Sur and Palawan to interact with the public and teach them their art of ikat, basket, backstrap, and mat weaving.
Among the highlights of the FITE in Manila is Renaissance, a textile exhibit mounted in France last year, presenting a wide-array of hand-woven, embroidered and designed crafts and fabrics from all over the world. Renaissance is currently open for public viewing at the Tall Galleries of the MET Museum until September 12, 2015.
The public is also invited to continue the quilting activity entitled Grandmother’s Flower Garden, a project that started in France in 2014, as well as to view the textile and jewellery display by French artists Olivia d’Aboville and Francis Dravigny and the Philippine basketry exhibit by Robert Lane.
The Festival international des textiles extra ordinaries (FITE) in Manila was organized by the Embassy of France to the Philippines, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, HABI: The Philippine Textile Council, in partnership with HS_Projets, Bargoin Museum, the city of Clermont-Ferrand, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, Security Bank, SM Aura Premier, EPSON Philippines, DMC Philippines, the Aristocrat Restaurant, BusinessWorld, High Life Magazine, and Art Plus Magazine, and in cooperation with Raffles Design Institute, School of Fashion and the Arts, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts, the University of the Philippines-Diliman and its departments: Fine Arts, Art Studies, and Clothing Technology and Interior Design, the UP Vargas Museum and Craft MNL.