Visual artist draws inspiration from Mindanao weaves in solo exhibit

Dolly Dy-Zulueta

“Devotion” is part of Aileen Lanuza’s recent solo exhibit titled “A Symphony of Roots.”

MANILA, Philippines — Contemporary visual artist Aileen Lanuza presents flourishing tapestries that showcase the indigenous weaves of Mindanaoan tribes in her solo exhibit “A Symphony of Roots.”

For her, these are treasures inherited from a rich history by present-day Filipinos — stories that we must continue to tell and live today.

The resplendent tune of shared memories once whispered in the shade of grand narratives resonates in the works of Lanuza. These serve as a reminder of the bonds that transcend time and place.

“Cor Rosae (The Heart of a Rose)”

Working closely with Mindanaoan artisans of Kaayo, which is dedicated to telling our woven stories, Lanuza hearkens back to our roots, using indigenous weaves from tribes across the region in her compositions.

Founded in 2016 by the mother-and-daughter team of Mary Ann “Baby” Montemayor and Margarita Nograles, clothing line Kaayo brings Mindanaoan weaving heritage to the world, collaborating with women from the T’boli, B’laan, Mandaya, Bagobo Tagabawa, Tagakaolo and Ata Manobo tribes to raise awareness of, preserve and reimagine their individual weaving methods and traditions.

Each thread, each brushstroke traces a strand of a long and rich history, woven into symphonic tapestries. Each creation carries the weight of ages past, a tale of triumph and struggle that echoes through time.

“Blue Aestas Caelum (Blue Summer Sky)”

“I share the same passion as Kaayo has, in maintaining our roots and bringing forth our custom indigenous weaves that are inherently Filipino,” Lanuza said. “It is important for me in my works to highlight the best of what we are, maintaining our identity and always bearing the power to be who we are.”

Relating her experiences as a modern Filipina, Lanuza delineates a heritage that is not just a relic of the past, but whose tune we always carry, resounding in everything we do and constantly redefining who we are and who we can be.

Her signature floral compositions follow the movement, form and eloquence of Maria Clara, capturing its timelessness, its quiet intensity, and the enduring flourish of its beauty. As she composes this symphony of roots, the pieces interweave destinies of those who hear its call.

The artist, Aileen Lanuza (b. 1981), studied Fine Arts, majoring in Visual Communication, at the University of the Philippines Diliman. In 2008, she had her first one-woman show. Since then, she has made the rounds of different countries around Asia and North America to showcase her works.

Her style has consistently focused on women and the female experience; from realistic Filipinianas and pop art homages, to impressionistic self-portraits and enigmatic figures, she invites her audience to contemplate on the emotion and context of her subjects. Depicting both tenderness and strength in one picture is what makes Lanuza one of the most sought-after Filipino contemporary artists today.