Two acclaimed Filipino artists came together to celebrate Moro culture through Manāra, an interactive art installation at the Ayala Museum Plaza, which officially opened on May 3.
Manāra—the Arabic word for “minaret”—is the result of the creative collaboration between internationally acclaimed sculptor and painter Toym Imao and industrial designer and installation artist Lilianna Manahan.
Featuring 23 minarets and lanterns, the Manāra interactive art installation features Moro textiles, wood and metal work, music, and indigenous patterns. Manāra is a project of Ayala Foundation.
Traditionally, minarets served as lighthouses, providing light to people and vessels that needed to find their way. Minarets, which are also important architectural features of mosques, are also where calls to prayer are made.
Similarly, the Manāra art installation hopes to shed light on the richness and diversity of Moro culture, and in the process inspire a deeper understanding of Muslim Filipinos. At the same time, the interactive art installation serves as a call for unity—for Filipinos, even though they come from diverse backgrounds, to become more open to dialogue and cooperation.
“In an increasingly digital environment, art continues to be a powerful expression of today’s realities and an important medium to convey messages of enlightenment, action, and community. We see this interactive exhibit as an opportunity to promote awareness and further educate people about the rich and inspiring culture of Mindanao communities and the significant role the Moro culture plays in our country’s history and heritage,” Ayala Foundation Co-Chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala said.
“The spirit of collaboration, mutual respect, and creativity shown in Manāra is the exact same spirit that we live by at Ayala Foundation,” says Ruel Maranan, president of Ayala Foundation. “Through our various initiatives in education, youth leadership, sustainable livelihood, and arts and culture, we make sure that we are aligned with the needs of our stakeholders, and focus on programs that make an impact in the lives of the people we serve, which include our conglomerate, our communities, and the rest of the country.”
For over 50 years, Ayala Foundation has been implementing community development initiatives in Mindanao. One of the foundation’s first projects was the Sumilao Cattle Research Project at Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro in the 1960s. At present, the foundation has been nurturing its partnership with the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao for its youth leadership program Leadership Communities, and its education program Training Institute.
Ayala Foundation has also partnered with the City Government of Marawi for the community-based Siyapen Drug Rehabilitation Center, which was started earlier this year.
Guests are welcome to explore and interact with Manāra at the Ayala Museum Plaza from May 3 to May 30. The installation will then be brought to key sites in Visayas and Mindanao later this year.