Visual artist Carlito Camahalan Amalla, a member of the Agusanon Manobo tribe, pays homage to the Filipino indigenous communities in his latest solo exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
Entitled Mandala: Concert of Cultures, it featured a collection of 12 contemporary Mandala art – wood carvings with acrylic paint and repousse brass sheet – inspired from unearthed Surigao and Butuan gold from ancient civilizations.
Amalla, founder and head of the Agusan Artists Association in Butuan City and the Balangay Artists Association in Manila, utilized the Mandala as a spiritual and ritual symbol in Asian cultures to encapsulate, narrate and embrace the diverse and dynamic nature, culture and literature of the Filipino lives.
“Mandala is a symbol of the universe in its ideal form,” he stated. “It signifies the transformation of the cosmic life from chaos, challenges, and struggles into order, organic unity and joy. It is also a form of prayer and meditation.”
Each piece showcased a radial design that represents a kaleidoscope of signs and meanings, a collective community and the artist’s role in safeguarding the Philippine ecosystem from exploitation and destruction.
“It is an homage to the Philippine indigenous tribes, whose lives are intrinsically linked with the world they inhabit, the traditional knowledge of their ancestors and the spiritual realm of their deities,” Amalla explained.
Amalla is a performer, puppeteer, dancer, chanter, musician, ceramist and researcher, who has participated in exhibitions in Wales, Belgium, England, and USA.
He holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts with Major in Sculpture and a Master’s degree in Art History, both from the University of the Philippines. His Agusan Manobo embroidery art thesis, paintings, and puppetry in Sinuyaman: Awit ni Baylan were part of the Mindanao: Cartography of History, Identity and Representation presented at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London in 2019.
He is a recipient of the 2021 Asia Pacific Luminare Award and 2020 Outstanding Leadership in Culture and the Arts Award in New York City. He currently imparts his knowledge under the Design Foundation of the School of Arts, Culture and Performance of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.
Mandala: Concert of Cultures was held at the Philippine Embassy in Germany in Berlin, through the support of the consulate and Amalla’s major sponsor Pacita Hienrich. It was curated by ML Ganzon.