“Ang tatay ang haligi ng tahanan habang ang nanay naman ang ilaw ng tahanan”.
This cliché provides a stark contrast between what society expects from a father and a mother, from a man and a woman. The male holds the family together by being the strong one and the main provider, and the female as the nurturing one who provides warmth and guidance to the family. A reflection of the long-standing patriarchal status of Philippine society. But the Philippines has not always been patriarchal. During the pre-colonial era, women used to take on more important roles not just in the household but in society. There were a great number of women who became queens, healers, counselors, mediators, priestesses, and Babaylans. Even Philippine mythology is filled with strong goddesses such as Lakapati, the Tagalog goddess of fertility, and Maguayan, the Visayan goddess of the sea and death. It was only during the time of the Spanish Colonization when their status was degraded, reducing them to live their lives meekly and submissively. A great disparity now exists. Women during pre-colonial era were treated and depicted differently from women in present-day society.
Today, women are reclaiming their place, striving to be treated as a co-equal, not just a complement or subservient to the opposite gender. However, even though more of them are now the main providers in the family, there is still a stigma when they deviate from their stereotypical role as the nurturer. Despite their success across many endeavors, society continues to expect women to provide warmth and care for the family.
The artworks featured in Ba present several glimpses on what it means to be a woman, using different media to capture her essence in today's society. With a common theme, the artists applied their own interpretation in creating their individual artworks. Participating in this exhibit are Jade Alfonso, Zeelah Aquilizan, John Paul Diciembre, Babylyn Fajilagutan, Jaymie Anne Gabriel, Bryan John Gonzales, Grasha Non, Camille Quintos, Maia San Diego, Oddin Sena, Maricar Tolentino, Pau Villanueva, Aileen Viñas and Eunice Vergara.
- Zyra Aquilizan