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Asian American Heritage Festival featured ancient Philippine art and writing system

International artist Fred DeAsis writing using ancient Baybayin

International artist Fred DeAsis writing using ancient Baybayin

Chicago – The Philippines’ ancient writing system baybayin and lost art kut-kut and were featured by renowned Filipino American artist Fred DeAsis at the Asian American Heritage Festival last Saturday May 5 in Chinatown, Chicago. The event was hosted by the Malaysian Club of Chicago and with the collaboration of 18 Asian communities in the area.

Several Asian associations and museums (Chinese-American Museum of Chicago and Chicago Children's Museum)offered craft making,face painting, balloon artistry, opera mask making, exotic ancient Philippine “kut-kut art” and ancient writing “baybayin” demo, henna, Thai fruit carving and various activities for the entire family. A Chinese Lion Dance and Malaysian Ko Z Artist Aye Kompang led the grandiose opening. The public took part in rhythmic Malaysian Joget, Indian Bollywood, Filipino Tinikling, Punjabi Bangra as well as other forms of participation dancing.

“The Philippine ancient kut-kut art and baybayin demo enhanced the festival’s uniqueness with other exotic activities from various Asian countries. Fred is very passionate in promoting Philippine arts and culture. He is on a mission,” said Yin Kean – overall chairperson of this year’s festival.

Baybayin is a writing system commonly used during pre-colonial Philippines It is one of many writing systems used in Southeast
Asia. The origin could be traced back from north central India were artifacts in Brahmic writing system were found dated as early as 3rd century BCE.

Kut-kut is an ancient Philippines art style and technique based on early century Oriental and European art forms. Specific designs represent the identity of a tribal unit on the island. The uniqueness of the art form is the story it presents. It has been kept alive by passing it on through the generations. It is described as a production of interwoven lines and multi-layered textures. Artisans from Samar province, one of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, were known for their kut-kut artistry.

“I never knew that we have our own writing system, the Baybayin,” said Cebu-born Antonio Garcia from Indiana. “Fred took his time presenting the Baybayin to the curious crowd gathered around the Philippine section. He is truly a Filipino both in words and action.”

Fred DeAsis is one of the most prolific Filipino American artists in America. He is well known for his traveling cultural art exhibits, workshops, and Philippine ancient art and culture lectures in universities and other learning institutions. He was the recipient of many awards from civic organizations and communities for outstanding achievement in promoting arts and culture across the country.

He received the much coveted CFO Presidential Award from the president of the Philippines, Benign Aquino III, for outstanding achievement and service in the field of Arts and Culture two years ago. The international award is given every two years to highly selected individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements on their given field.

More information on Fred DeAsis’ artful events and updates are on his Facebook page. For interest and inquiries on kut-kut
art/baybayin workshops and cultural programs, contact him via email at artist@fdeasis.com .

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