Early this month, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and South Korea’s Andong Festival Tourism Foundation (AFTF) came together for the World Mask Exhibit at SM Mall of Asia Music Hall.
“Culture always unites people,” said NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon at the opening of the exhibit. AFTF chairman Lee Byung Chand and members of both agencies were present at the event as well, a testament in itself to the task of strengthening ties between the Philippines and South Korea through cultural enrichment projects between the Philippines’ NCCA and South Korea’s global promotive agency AFTF. AFTF is based in Andong City, known as SoKor’s “roofless museum” because of its many intact cultural treasures and traditions.
The World Mask Exhibit from August 7 to 9 2016 featured various masks from different regions such as Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Masks were a vital part in the shamanistic cultures prevalent in many parts of the world before the time of major religions. These facial ornaments represented coming-of-age or positional roles, while some had hunting and exorcism functions.
A highlight of opening night was the Andong Mask Dance, a non-verbal performance depicting various cultures and traditions around the world. More than just being a dance, it is a form that tells a story for every segment, with characters that provide comic relief.
The Philippines has participated seven times in a cultural exchange with South Korea to show solidarity and goodwill. Both the AFTF and NCCA express optimism in continuing the enrichment of cultural relations through these exchange programs.
LUIGIE HADAP, NCCA