by Christine Balmes Tonight, September 17 at 7 pm is the start of a fresh new arts-based history workshops at KAPISANAN which I am really excited about. Alex Felipe, who has taught the history workshops here in the past, and who makes it his life work to research little-known facts about Philippine history, will be facilitating this workshop.
Alex's past classes have always been eye-openers for me. His perspective is that of the Filipino speaking to the Filipino about history. It is what the Philippine historian and thinker Zeus Salazar called pantayong pananaw (loosely translated, "a perspective for us") and it is part of the new methods of historicism where the focus shifts from the centre to the margins. That means the Philippines will not be mentioned in passing only, but that it will be the reason for the class. Filipinos of the past will come alive and reveal themselves to you, their lives and minds will become visible.
Just some of the topics Alex will cover are: Who were the first migrants? Why are most natives relatively light skinned? How was prehispanic society organised? Illiterates? I don't think so. "Bahala Na" Prehispanic Religion. Woman Know Your Place: Our Matriarchal Past. (<--This last one I'm really partial to.)
The offering of art is a fantastic addition. Besides the fact that this workshop's perspective is progressive, its overall approach is made more attractive by the deluge of visual, and aural stimulation you're going to get during class time. As you listen to Alex talk, be prepared to also take in visual art, theatre, music, and songs. Every week there will be new guests of local artists, musicians, and community leaders.
This week's workshop will feature live models costumed in traditional Filipiniana in not-so traditional ways, so you can absorb Philippine history while practicing your craft. Guests this week are: live drawing models Fly Lady Di & Jodinand www.myspace.com/flyladydi www.youtube.com/jodinand
No matter your cultural or artistic background, you will find this interesting. So for class bring a notebook, a sketchbook, maybe even a voice recorder. And don't forget your undivided attention! You may never think about history class, or the Philippines, the same way again.