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PH Embassy London Unveils Exhibit on the Panay Bukidnon

Traditional attire and portraits of the Panay Bukidnon occupy the Embassy’s Exhibition Hall.  The featured artist, Rosalima Lamey, painted more than ten portraits of the Panay Bukidnon from her recent visit to her hometown in Nayawan.  Lamey proudly hails from the community.  Photo by Stacy Garcia

27 March 2019 LONDON—The Philippine Embassy in London unveiled the portraits of the Panay Bukidnon in the first solo exhibition by Filipino portraitist Rosalima Lamey called “Mountain Spirit.”  The exhibition runs from 21 March to 04 April, with curated tours arranged by appointment.

The Panay Bukidnon are one of only two indigenous communities in the Visayas, the other being the Iraynun-Bukidnon.  Also known as the Tumandok or Suludnon, the Panay Bukidnon communities are scattered among the hinterlands of Panay, particularly in the interiors of Tapaz, Capiz.  Because of this isolation, several of the community’s pre-Hispanic practices persist to this day.  The community of around 18,000 speaks its own language called Ligbok or Igbok, a language related to Panay’s Kinaray-a language.

“I was inspired to mount this exhibition because of my desire to show people the beauty and uniqueness of my cultural roots,” said Lamey, who is descended from a Panay Bukidnon binukot in Nayawan.  Lamey returned to Nayawan decades after leaving the Philippines to reconnect with her community.

In Panay Bukidnon culture, a binukot or kept maiden, is a woman who is kept in seclusion since childhood and who is raised to be the bearer and keeper of Panay Bukidnon culture.  Lamey’s mother was selected at an early age to play this role until she left the community after marrying Lamey’s father.

Apart from this mystic practice, the Panay Bukidnon are known for their panubok embroidery, which is steeped in symbolism; for the Sugidanon epic, one of the longest epics in the Philippines, which takes more than 20 days of continuous chanting; and for the binanog dance, a ceremonial ritual dance that mimicks the flight of an eagle.

“Rosalima, has become a bearer of the community's culture by carrying its rich traditions with her to wherever it is that the fates bring her – be it to New York, San Francisco, or London.  And she carries the Panay Bukidnon culture with her through her art,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo. “The Embassy is honoured to host Mountain Spirit, Rosalima’s solo exhibition, not only because it affords us a glimpse into the unique culture of the Panay Bukidnon, but also because it highlights the many layers and complexities of Philippine culture. If this exhibit would make our citizens proud of their cultural heritage, it would have already met the Embassy’s expectations.”

Alongside the portrait exhibition, the Embassy also mounted a parallel display of Panay Bukidnon embroidery, which has drawn fashion and textiles enthusiasts since the exhibition opened.

Show Information:

Exhibition Dates: 21 March – 04 April 2019

Opening times: Monday - Friday, 10.00 – 17:00

Closed Saturdays and Sundays

Venue: Exhibition Hall, 1F 10 Suffolk Street, London, SW1Y 4HG

Email: London.pe@dfa.gov.ph / embassy@philemb.co.uk

Rosalima Lamey shares with the audience her desire to raise awareness on Panay Bukidnon culture.  Lamey left Nayawan as a child only to return recently after living in the United Kingdom for decades.  Lamey proudly shares her memories of growing up in Capiz. Photo by Stacy Garcia
Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo and Rosalima Lamey pose near a mannequin wearing a cloak decked in panubok embroidery. Photo by Stacy Garcia
Cultural Officer Stacy Garcia (1st Row, 3rd from left) and Rosalima Lamey (1st row, 5th from left) pose with the members of the UCL Filipino Society and the SOAS Filipino Society after a curated tour of the exhibition.
Above are two portraits from the exhibit depicting two women clothed in traditional Panay Bukidnon attire.  Lamey used oil as a medium for all her paintings. Photo courtesy of Rosalima Lamey

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