Wood art and Lumad heritage

A GROUP of indigenous people from the Higaonon driftwood sculptors of Malasag, Cugman Cagayan de Oro City showcased their works as they organized the Malasag Sculpture Exhibit last July 1 at the fifth floor, Sky Park of SM CDO Downtown Premier.

All of the works displayed during the exhibit were made of driftwood from Malasag and 100 percent created by the Higaonons, the Malasag Indigenous Driftwood Sculptors, who were trained by professional driftwood sculptures facilitated by Smart.

According to Darwin Flores, head for Community Partnerships of Smart, the concept of training people to do driftwood sculpting came about due to the several disasters occurred in the Philippines.

"Pinagmulan nito is yung disasters kasi we know na pag bumabagyo, bumabaha, may dala-dalang puno yan," Flores said.

"After Yolanda, as far as Smart is concerned, paano ba natin matutulungan ng kabuhayan ang mga nadi-disaster? So naghahanap kami ng mga communities, lalo na mga fishing communities, doon kasi natatapon yung debris usually," he added.

The 15 Higaonon artists in Malasag were the first to undergo the training.

Flores said that even after their training, Smart will extend their support to the group if they need it.

"Paghiningi nila kasi as far as we're concerned, naibigay na namin yung basics, yung process on how to improve. So pagtinawag nila kami, kailangan pa nila ng tulong, we will respond," Flores said.

He added that thei dialogue with the Higaonons is continuing as they also have project with them on agriculture.

"Kasi yung areas nila dyan sa taas is a very good place to demonstrate indigenous agriculture. So we are already working with the Department of Agriculture, yung kanilang agricultural training institute, na maybe pwedeng maging learning site yung lugar nila," Flores said.

Datu Jude Masikal Jabiniao, kagawad of the barangay council of Cugman and one of the tribal leaders of the Higaonon Tribal Council, for his part, expressed his gratitude to Smart, Cugman Barangay Council, the tribal council and everyone who supported the artists on their endeavor to finish their training for driftwood sculpting.

The Malasag Sculpture Exhibit, organized in partnership with SM CDO Downtown Premier and the Malasag Indigenous Driftwood Sculptors, ran until July 6.


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