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LOOK: The National Museum's new INDIO-GENIUS exhibit is a deep dive into the 'soul of the Filipino legacy'

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Oct 19, 2022 12:05 pm

National Artist for Film Kidlat Tahimik (born Oteyza de Guia) is once again looking at the Filipino legacy through eyes and hands that know us best: our own.

Presented at the National Museum of Anthropology, “INDIO-GENIUS: 500 Taon ng Labanang Kultural (1521-2021)" is Kidlat's latest foray into creations borne from his wild imagination. 

Similar to his films revolving around the war on culture, the exhibit aims to showcase the "battle for the soul of the Filipino legacy" for the past 500 years.

Apart from the intricate pieces created by Tahimik, the exhibit's title itself is a playlist twist on the 80-year-old's unconventional art style and inspirations.

The term "indi-genius" was coined by his Ifugao mentor Lopes Na-Uyact referring to the innate brilliance of the Filipino people, especially the indigenous communities in particular. It was later stylized as "Indio-genius" by Kidlat.

"Indi-genius" is also rooted in the local concept of "Sariling Duwende" which is the little playful elf tied to one’s culture, unfortunately, endangered by the centuries-long colonization in the Philippines.

Accepting how embedded Western influence is in Filipinos’ daily life, Kidlat hopes only to balance this with original and authentic local storytelling through Kataas-taasang Kaalamang Katutubo (KKK).

At first glance, Kidlat's pieces may seem chaotic, but they represent free-flowing energy led by his environment, as even the materials he uses are organic materials, such as wood from trees that have fallen due to typhoons, found objects, rocks, and stones, shells, and dried palm leaves.

An exhibit at the National Museum makes for Kidlat's works to be more publicly for Filipinos.

It serves as an accumulation of his previous works and objects collected through the years such as from his self-architected Ili-Likha Artist Village in Baguio along with several creations displayed in his 2019 Sharjah exhibition “Ang Ma-bagyong Sabungan ng 2 Bathala ng Hangin, A Stormy Clash Between 2 Goddesses of the Winds (WW III – the Protracted Kultur War)”.

Other major installations were those presented at his Madrid exhibition “Magellan, Marilyn, Mickey & Fr. Damaso: 500 Years of Conquistador RockStars."

INDIO-GENIUS: 500 Taon ng Labanang Kultural will be presented at the National Museum of Anthropology in Ermita, Manila starting from October 22, 2022, until March 2023.