25 April, 2009

ang santa mo ba ay a-attend ng JS Prom? [a post semana santa look at the many be-sequined processional images I encountered]

One of my pet peeves when watching holy week processions is when the processional images are robed in be-sequined fabric… I don’t understand what the fascination is with these razzle-dazzle bolts of fabric acting as textile disco mirror balls that they make their way into the wardrobe of the saints that come out during the processions.

It’s one thing to want your image to stand out; it’s another to dress them in fabrics meant to be worn by a dance sport contestant. Now, I have nothing against sequins and sequined fabric. In fact, the sequin’s closest relative, the flat-spangles, have made it into many of my designs including those raining cherry blossoms I once did for a children’s musical. But this is not the finale to Jesus Christ Superstar, people. This is a procession that’s supposed to commemorate the very foundation of your faith, not some Mardi-Gras parade… Fat Tuesday was about nearly forty days ago and dancing samba at Carnevale is way past the drunkenness

If you analyze the very aesthetics of Philippine Santo Art, these images were originally dressed in lush velvets and rich brocades with gold embroidery and patchwork. The use of sequins was merely for accents to substitute for the expensive gold thread embroidery. I think it was about the disco era when these fabrics started appearing. I remember seeing a lot of these used in the movie Flash Gordon when I was a kid. And I reckon, ever since disco, nothing has ever been the same… Fabrics covered entirely in sequins have then been a staple in some processional image’s wardrobe.

On the drive to the airport yesterday, my friend Mike told me, “Hindi ko lang I-post ang mga photos ka mga Santa nga ma-attend sang JS Prom sa Flickr.” [translated: “I won’t be posting photos of those Saints who will be attending the Prom on my Flickr site.”]. To which I responded with raucous laughter… Unfortunately Mike, I’m not above that. Thus with this blog, I have posted away!!! Hahahaha…

Another friend of mine hath observed that this is often the case in some provincial towns where the general public’s impression of a good processional image is one that is shining and shimmering -unfortunately I shall hold the use of the world splendid as they are far from the mention of it. This year, I had used sequins in the Good Friday robe of my Saint Mary of Bethany, but as accents against the all-black template of her robe; I wouldn’t dare use more than 6 square inches of sequins as they do have the danger of making the clothes tacky.

Maybe this kind of reaction was fuelled by an event last Holy Thursday when one of the images of another family dressed in gold sequined fabric -which arrived late at the line by the cathedral and messed up the established line- was passing by, and the son of the owner had the gall to look at me from head to foot with an eyebrow raised and rather judgmental eyes. But, the Barefoot Baklesa responded with a look that said all these: “Look at my Saint, she’s wearing hand-painted chiffon with Italian silk brocade, and we don’t use plastic flowers like you.” -all achieved within a slight raising of the chin and the left eyebrow… Oh, we can be such vicious queens.

Thus spake the Barefoot Baklesa

No comments: