The centerpiece of the exhibition is the generous donation by Mercedes Zobel to the Ayala Museum, which consists of 111 textiles representing indigenous communities in the Philippines from the Cordilleras in northern Philippines and from Mindanao in the south, including the Muslim regions in Western Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago.
Mercedes Zobel hopes that the collection will inspire and rekindle interest in the living arts of the country. For her, textiles speak the “earliest language that expresses the beginnings of our culture.”
In collaboration with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, the exhibition provides a new way seeing indigenous Philippine textiles. Founded in 2004 by HRH the Prince of Wales as one of his core charities, the Prince’s School specializes in teaching, researching, and promoting the practice and theory of the arts and crafts of the world’s great traditions. Using traditional geometry and biomorphic design principles, the artists of the Prince’s School analyzed a selection from the Mercedes Zobel Collection. Showcased alongside the actual objects in the exhibition, together they are like textbooks that illustrate how Philippine indigenous textiles, like other great traditions, reflect the universal order of nature.
“It is our hope that this highly visual approach to the analysis of indigenous Philippine textiles will be a fresh addition to the corpus of knowledge about the subject matter and will spark renewed interest in this unique aspect of our cultural identity” said Mariles Gustilo, Senior Director of Ayala Museum.