Speech: Opening of “Ties of History: Art in Southeast Asia”

August 9, 2018

Speech of Senator Loren Legarda

Opening of “Ties of History: Art in Southeast Asia”

8 August 2018 | Metropolitan Museum of Manila

Please find below message of Senator Loren Legarda for the opening of the “Ties of History: Art in Southeast Asia” exhibition on August 8, 2018 at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET Museum).

The message was read by Ms. Tina Colayco, President of MET Museum.

Fifty years ago, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed to foster stronger regional cooperation and deeper understanding among its people.

ASEAN is a region of 32,000 islands spanning over 4 million square kilometers and hosting more than 600 million people who speak more than 900 different languages and dialects.

It is one of the most diverse regions in the world. And today, we celebrate this diversity. We look back at the document signed by ASEAN founding members on August 8, 1967, which declares that we are “bound together by ties of history and culture.” This phrase is the inspiration for this exhibition.

In a world of diverse traditions, various practices, and different beliefs further complicated by current global trends, sometimes even by wrong information and fake news spread rapidly through social media and other modern forms of communication, we must exert greater effort to promote respect and nurture understanding among one another, within our respective nations and within the region.

That is why I am proud of this exhibition, which gathers artists from the ASEAN member states. This is not only a showcase of contemporary art, but is also an attempt to strengthen the ties that bind us.

This collaborative endeavor further puts the ASEAN countries in an in-depth understanding of the remarkable artistry and unique culture of each nation that may also reveal what we have in common, for us to find unity amidst diversity.

I congratulate Dr. Patrick Flores, as well as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) through the Dalubhasaan Para sa Edukasyon sa Sining at Kultura (DESK), and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET Manila), the University of the Philippines Vargas Museum, and the Yuchengco Museum, for making this possible.

This is yet another laudable initiative to make the country an active and important part of the contemporary art scene in the region and globally.

I also wish to sincerely thank all the artists who willingly shared their passion and craft for this endeavor.

I invite our ASEAN neighbors to continue this art project annually or in the form of a biennial in the same manner by which we host political and economic affairs in ASEAN.

Let us make art and culture an integral part of our regional integration so that we may truly be successful in building an ASEAN of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community.”

Thank you.***