Body spelling

One of the most interesting forms of visual art in the Philippines is called “Letras Y Figuras”.

I’m sure the idea of spelling out names by using body forms is not new; many of you have probably done it at the beach, with family and friends jumping or contorting your bodies on the sand. But Letras Y Figuras has long been part of Filipino culture, and as is the practice now, it was often used then (during the Spanish era) to spell out the names of commissioning patrons, in place of the usual portrait.

The first example in this post is from the book Life in the Colony, Kasaysayan (History): The Story of the Filipino People. From the artwork, one can glean the different roles of people during the colonial times: from farmers and housewives, to members of the learned class, the friars, and the foreign guards.

The next example narrates, via its figures/letters, the history of the country: from the time of the local tribes and chieftains to the time of the Spanish and the American conquerors, before finally proceeding to the period of democracy after the war.

Read more on the Philippines’ Blog



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