Tabi Tabi Po…

December 7, 2009

15 Minute Smoke Break” by Gem Mateo
This is an interpretation of the “kapre,” a giant that lurks at the top of large trees and likes to scare children at night.

I was really excited to see the art show, “Tabi Tabi Po,” at 1AM Gallery in downtown San Francisco, especially since it was free. I have been to some art shows in Honolulu and had an expectation of how this show was going to turn out: music, artsy crowd, and beautiful artwork. And I was right. My expectation was met and more.

The “Tabi Tabi Po” exhibition was a very interesting one. Each piece of artwork was tied to a bigger theme of Filipino “scary” stories that the lolas, lolos, nanays, and tatays like to tell us at night to prevent us from doing anything mischievous. Being Filipino at this exhibition put me at ease because I was familiar with the folkloric stories and that everyone else around me was Filipino or at least knew someone that was. So I didn’t have to think and ponder really hard about what each piece was for more than 5 min. It was a cool, welcoming environment.

I took a look around and was amazed at each artists’ interpretation of the folkloric creatures. A common creature that caught my eye was the “Mananaggal,” the one I am most terrified of. This is the monster that splits in half. The torso grows wings and flies around in search of pregnant women with fetuses. How disgusting, right? That’s how I feel, but I found pieces that made the monster look cute and appealing and made me forget how scared I am of them for a second. Other monsters that artists painted were the “aswangs,” dwendes,” “kapres,” and the “tikbalang.”

Being at this exhibition reassured me about how talented and artistic Filipinos can be. Art is a wonderful tool for us to keep records of our stories and history as well as to convey a message in a visual manner. If you haven’t had the chance to check out “Tabi Tabi Po,” the exhibition is open until the 12th of December! So head on out there.

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