Contemporary Realities: Its Effects on Traditional Arts & Society

Traditional Filipinos unanimously agreed on the belief that the universe is an infinite
manifestation of an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient higher living spirit. Such
sacred essence is often portrayed as divine or mystical ̶ as God. Owing to our diverse
ethnicities within the country, our dear ancestors zealously devoted by way of varied
imageries and symbolic representations of these divine beings, particularly within tribal
or ethnic villages. Hence, an etended sense of self was created due to their strongly
shared idolatry and devotion. !t features a communal orientation rather than individualist
that is widely manifested not only in all aspects of traditional Filipino rural life but also in
urban contet.
Over time, contemporary realities have affected our traditional arts and life.
"hilippine history tells us, case in point, that in #$%$ wor&s of traditional artists where
heavily eploited by Spanish and local traders during the Galleon trade between 'anila
and (capulco in 'eico. These precious wor&s of arts were commodified and reduced as
plain goods for money. Hence, such practice discredited their true essence and )uality.
'oreover, several ine)ualities were evident during this era. 'any of our ancient
Filipinos, particularly women, were forbidden or ecluded to ta&e part or engage in any
art related activities and competitions, as they were epected to concentrate in doing
household chores. These limited the crafting of art to the male populace.

*uring the (merican colonial period, they introduced secular arts that lead to the
domination of commercial arts in "hilippine arts, particularly within urban communities.
!t was +ictorio ,. -dadez, one of the Filipino artist who studied in -urope, introduced the
modern art to the "hilippines. These ignited the remar&able battle between conservatism
and modernity. *ue to the wide acceptance of the modernization, various traditional artist
adapted the modern styles and techni)ues of westerners .ust to fit in the contemporary
landscape. This lead to the dismission of our own traditional art and culture.
/evertheless, even though secular arts were patronized mainly in urban places since it is
where advertisements and commercial arts flourished, traditional arts were still upheld in
respective domains particularly in rural places. *ue to the great pressure of emergence of
modernization, some conservationist artist shifted to the other side since they believed
that traditional art are already left behind by time and momentum of art. -ven if various
traditional arts and culture did not disappear, they were etremely influence by
modernization. Hence, they were not purely passed down up to the net generation.
/onetheless, even today, indigenous arts such as crafts and repetitious and rhythmic
weaving designs are still used for commercialization and tourism. !ndustrialization, the
period of technological and economical advancement, still affects our traditional arts and
society even on these day. The essence and )uality of several traditional art culture such
as pottery ma&ing are greatly compromised for mass production. Some locals illegally
deal out these national treasures as ordinary commercial goods to different foreigners in
blac& mar&ets. These illegal transactions serve as Filipinos0 great source of financial
means. Hence, various important artwor&s of our traditional artist are now in the hands of
these aliens.