Submitted by Tito Young
on
November 17, 2016 - 09:59 AM

INTRODUCTION:

Federico Sulapas Dominguez aka boyD was born in the municipality of Maluko, Province of Bukidnon in Mindanao. He descended from the Tagalogs of Bulacan province in Luzon from his father’s side, to the Mandaya of Davao Oriental from his grandmother’s side, and natives of Surigao Del Norte from his mother’s side. He studied Architecture at the University of Mindanao and Fine Arts major in Visual Communication at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He currently works as a freelance graphic designer and art director, painter, illustrator and a member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP). He is married to Maria Teresa Cheng, an anthropologist and Community Development worker with three children, Rio Amir (Tsino), Montana Amir (Bubay) and Brisa Amir (Kimod). He currently resides in Krus na Ligas, Quezon City. He is also a recipient of the Asian Public Intellectual (API) Fellowship 2013-2014.

 

 

  


Maz Cu Dof Auf Hkauv Pooz reduce scale 700x300

"Take only what you need"

BODY:

 
The Majority of the Karen People are Buddhists but they still  practice  several  traditional rituals in  farming like the  “Luj Hti Bo” (water ritual) which is depicted on the foreground of the painting (from the center to the right). Led by the  “Hif Hkof”, a Karen spiritual leader, the ritual is performed during planting season near a source of water which flows into the agricultural lands and crops. It is done to appease the “Sah K’caj”, or the spirit of the water to make it flow properly into their cultivated lands.
 
When a child is born, the Karen people also perform  one of their practices the “Dei Pau Htoof” (umbilical cord forest). The umbilical cord of a newborn child is either placed inside a bamboo tube and is then either tied unto the tree trunk or buried amidst the shades of the tree near the trunk. The Karen people believe that once the umbilical cord is attached to the tree, the child will grow up having strong attachment to the people and the village. In addition to this, the forest where the umbilical cords are placed also become sacred places. This birthing ceremony shows the infusion of both traditional practices and Buddhist ordination ritual.
 
In Dokdaeng Village, the creation of sacred places through rituals has been adapted by Karen indigenous people’s organizations, Buddhist monks, Christian priests and advocates from the academe in their campaigns for environmental protection, particularly of the forests. They call the ritual “Buad pa” (sacred places) which integrate elements of Buddhist ordination ritual, Christian practices and animistic practices of the Karen people. The Buad pa is performed in places where there are no umbilical cords on the trees. This practice is shown from the center to the left images foreground of the painting.
 
The Karen people came to Thailand some hundreds of years ago from the southern part of the Gobi Desert in China. The Da-raang people originally came from Burma and arrived in Thailand in the 1980's. They were driven out from their ancestral homes in Burma due to the conversion of the their traditional hunting grounds and agricultural lands into forest reserves and huge plantations by the Burmese Government. As new settlers in Thailand, the Thailand Government has not recognized them as citizens of the country because of this situation. As such, the Da-raan people are prone to human rights abuse and violations and presently does not have access to basic social services such as education, medical care, etc. Being stateless, the Da-raang people do not have enough lands to cultivate. To survive, they make handicrafts, work in big plantations owned by either Thai or Foreigners, or hired as construction workers. Some perform dances for the tourists. 
 
On the extreme left and right side of my painting is my interpretation of their origin myth. According to tradition, once upon a time there were seven pretty beings  (on other versions, Angels), that came down to earth for a visit. One day, they decided to take a bath in a beautiful serene lake. As they were playing and enjoying in the water,they did not notice that a hunter was spying them nearby. Before they took notice of his presence, the hunter already captured one of them by stealing her wings. The others were able to escape and fly back to the skies where they came from. The hunter then brought his captive to his prince as a gift and in return, the hunter received a reward. The prince then immediately liked and learned to love his captive as his wife and gave her much attention and wealth. For a period of time, despite having many children, the pretty being continued to be very sad of her captivity and circumstance. As time passed by, one night, the Queen mother sympathized with the pretty being and as to make her happy, she gave her all her belongings, including her precious pair of wings. The pretty being immediately flew back to the skies, never to come back again. The prince became saddened of what happened and was left alone with all their children and the memories of their life together. Their lineage passed down and their descendants became known as the Da-raang people.
 
This story is remembered through the design of their fabrics and clothing. The glitters on their blouses represent the stars of their home in the skies. The belt is made of vine which symbolizes the trap which the hunter used to catch the pretty being before she can take her wings to fly. The silvery metallic belt symbolizes the things that were given to her as captive, by the prince. The beads of strings that adorn the arms of the blouse represents the pair of wings that were stolen from her. 

 

 

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CONCLUSION:

 
For me, this origin myth is analogous to the contemporary issues facing the Da-raang people. Their children represent the tribe's plight as a community passed from each generation -- that they are still in captivity in the form of many issues and problems they are currently facing as a whole. I chose this folklore, as well as the Da-raang people because of the similarities to the Pitong Maylog (Seven Maidens), a folktale of the Mandaya Peoples of Eastern Mindanao in the Philippines. They share the same similarities not only to this particular story but also to their experiences as indigenous people in the modern times.
 
 
Digital Print Artist's Price in US Dollar to assigned size in landscape and in centimeter
 
20 x 9.74 cm = $40.00
30 x 14.61 = $120.00
60 x 29.21 cm = $300.00
90 x 44 cm = $500.00
120 x 58.43 cm = $700.00
174 x 84.72 cm = $900.00 (original size)
 
Original Painting of the Artist's price at $7,500.00

 



 

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