SiningSaysay: Artful glimpse into Philippine history opens in Iloilo

By Mariela Angella Oladive

The University of San Agustin (USA) – Iloilo, in concert with the Center for Heritage and Indigenous Cultures (CHIC), the J. Amado Araneta Foundation, Inc., and the Western Visayas Association of Museums, Inc. (WVAMI), proudly inaugurated the “SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art” exhibit on April 4.

This exhibit, displaying scaled versions of the acclaimed artworks from the Gateway Gallery in Quezon City, has been set up in the USA’s Archives and Museum, nestled on the 3rd floor of the Fray Luis de Leon Building.

Vice President for Research and Global Relations Dr. JoneI P. Saludes, CHIC Director Jonn Paul J. Petrola, and WVAMI President Cheryl Anne Del Rosario initiated the event with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Dr. Saludes conveyed the university’s commitment to heritage and the arts.

“This [exhibit] is just the first of many joint efforts to promote heritage, legacy, as well as Filipino and Hiligaynon art appreciation and recognition,” he stated.

He highlighted the institution’s holistic approach to nurturing the hearts and minds of its constituents, with art playing a fundamental role in curricular instruction and fostering cultural expression among students.

“We believe that art plays a vital role in nurturing the hearts of Filipinos, contributing to personal growth and identity,” he affirmed.

The exhibit’s purpose was further clarified by Christine Diane Romero, Araneta Foundation’s executive director, through a multimedia presentation.

Through compelling visual narratives, it aims to evoke a deeper understanding of the nation’s rich heritage and inspire appreciation for its cultural legacy.

Del Rosario expressed gratitude for the exhibit’s realization, highlighting its origins and the vision behind it.

She emphasized the importance of making history accessible and engaging to younger generations, bridging the gap between textbooks and tangible historical narratives.

“History is not boring, as many students often perceive it to be. Perhaps the reason for such a perception is because history is so ingrained in us that we often take it for granted. Nonetheless, it is our duty as cultural workers to find means to make history more interesting and adaptive to the current generation,” she said.

She brought attention to the exhibit’s interactive element—an augmented reality (AR) app, the Gateway Gallery Pocket Museum, that enriches visitor engagement with multimedia content about the artworks.

Visitors can download the Gateway Gallery Pocket Museum app to unlock additional content, providing a deeper understanding of each artworks.

Del Rosario closed with an emphasis on the importance of history’s embodiment in the exhibit.

“This endeavor aims to remind us that what we see before us is not fiction but history. I hope we would appreciate the exhibit not only for what it shows but, more importantly, for what it seeks to achieve– a deeper and more engaged relationship with history and a sense of pride in the heritage that we have, leading to a more informed and involved future,” Del Rosario emphasized.

The exhibit welcomes visitors until May 25.