Argao Church in Cebu | Photo by Chelli

PH colonial churches photo exhibit opens at the MET

The exhibition looks to engaging a discourse on heritage churches beyond the façade imagery

  • May 11, 2018

  • Photos courtesy of the MET

In celebration of the National Heritage Month, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the Filipino Heritage Festival, Inc. together with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts present UP FRONT: Encountering the Sacred, a photography exhibition of Philippine colonial churches. The exhibit will be on view at the White Cube Gallery of the MET from May 10 to June 9.

The collection consists of photos taken by members of FUNtastic Philippines, a group of photography enthusiasts established in 2012. The works aim to promote the architectural legacy of the Philippines by capturing churches recognized as either a National Cultural Treasure, a National Historical Landmark, an Important Cultural Property, or a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

READ MORE: What was Vigan like before the UNESCO Heritage fame?

Rather than the nostalgia often stirred in us when presented with old buildings, the exhibition instead looks to engaging a discourse on heritage churches beyond the façade imagery. From the significance of unrecognized craftsmen demonstrating the brilliance of Filipino proficiency through intricacies in design and function, to the present condition of the architecture following efforts in rehabilitation and numerous interventions, the exhibit encourages us to contemplate on the underlying issues within these sacred structures.

Sta Barbara Church in Iloilo | Photo by Godwin Hernaez

The exhibition notes state:

Images of old structures often induce nostalgic longings for the past: life that was simpler, happier, safer, gentler. This exhibition, however, invite us to remove the illusory frames of nostalgia and engage in more upfront conversations about the past, the present, and the future; about our history and society; about our art and heritage. Just as church fronts serve as the principal entry point to the sacred spaces inside, this congregation of facade images call on us to meditate on the messages they carry within.

UP FRONT: Encountering the Sacred is organized by the MET in collaboration with the Filipino Heritage Festival Inc. and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Partner institutions include the Philippine Postal Corporation, Security Bank, FUNtastic Philippines, Fuji Film, Isla Lipana & Co., Business World and Manila Times.

Special commemorative stamps featuring colonial churches will be launched by the Philippine Postal Corporation at the Opening Reception on May 10, 2018. The exhibit will run until June 9, 2018.

READ MORE: Sitio Ubos: What remains when heritage conservation fails

Other exhibitions

Fascination with Filipiniana: The Vargas Museum Collection and In the Wake of War and the Modern: Manila, 1941 to 1961 on view at the ground floor galleries of the MET until July 21.

The PHILIPPINE CONTEMPORARY: to scale the past and the possible – Long-term exhibition at the upper galleries.

Museum doors open at 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Mondays thru Saturdays. FREE ADMISSION on TUESDAYS and FREE GUIDED TOUR every SATURDAY at 2:00 p.m. 

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