MANILA, MARCH 29, 2008 (STAR) Filipinos visiting New York City this summer are in for a treat. A series of Philippine events unfolds at the prestigious King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, located just off Washington Square Park in the downtown campus of New York University. To create a larger footprint for Philippine studies in New York, Edward J. Sullivan, Dean for the Humanities, and Jo Labanyi, Director of the King Juan Carlos Center, have teamed up with Ayala Museum’s Nina Baker, Director of International Exhibitions based in New York.

The 2008 NYU-Ayala Museum collaboration was unveiled at the well-attended opening reception in Manhattan a few weeks ago of the exhibition, 22/44 Dimensions of Hope. Curated by Dr. Baker in close collaboration with the Camera Club of the Philippines’ former president, Roberto Paterno, pre-existing photographs by club members were selected according to artistic merit and content, with the names of artists revealed only after the final selection. Forty-four works by members of the Camera Club are grouped into 22 pairs according to theme and composition, hence the title 22/44. Thirty-three artists are represented in the exhibition. A digital presentation of more recent works are featured in two looped audio-visuals conceptualized and written by Felice Sta. Maria, entitled Plus Ultra: Realms of Discovery and Locus of Sentiment: Glimpses of the Philippines’ Spanish Heritage.

The recent opening reception, hosted by the King Juan Carlos Center, attracted a dynamic cross-section of the Big Apple’s cultural and academic communities. Consul General Cecille Rebong and the Camera Club’s 2008 President, Raoul Littaua, delivered remarks on behalf of the Philippines. Also in attendance were the club’s past presidents, Leo Riingen and Francisco Balagtas, and board member, Rommel Abesamis. Feedback from the Fil-American community was heartwarming, as they expressed pride and pleasure in the prominent Philippine presence in the city. Many look forward to related upcoming events with anticipation.

For the intellectually inquisitive, a one-day symposium on April 17, entitled Philippines: Colonial Cultural Perspectives, will surely shed light on the Philippine colonial experience that continues to shape our hybrid sensibilities. The keynote speaker is Dr. Vicente Rafael, author of such seminal books as Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society under Early Spanish Rule. A post-symposium reception and special viewing of the 22/44 photograph exhibition follows.

On April 18, special film screenings of Kubrador (2006) by Jeffery Jeturian and The Prolonged Agony of the Filipinos (2006) by Raya Martin will be followed by discussions led by two leading Fil-Am scholars, Dr. Jonathan Bellar of the Pratt Institute, and Dr. Neferti Tadiar of Barnard College.

These exciting events at NYU will come full circle right here this coming November, when NYU and Ayala Museum co-convene the international conference, Manila World Entrepot II. This is a sequel to the highly successful Entrepot conference at Ayala Museum in 2005. An exciting roster of international speakers such as John Miksic (National University of Singapore), John Guy and Eric Kjellgren (both curators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) are lined up for the 2008 gathering. Scholars from Asia, Europe and the Americas are expected to converge at Ayala to discuss their latest works.

Since initiating its internationalization program to address a global audience, the Ayala Museum has forged fruitful, long-term partnerships with the National Heritage Board of Singapore, the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, and most recently, New York University. These international programs aim to give all Filipinos overseas pride in being Filipino. So if you’re visiting the Big Apple this summer, don’t miss the exciting events at NYU!

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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