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While most spend their February 14 buying flowers and chocolates, getting ready for a night out, or preparing a nice home-cooked dinner for two, this young power couple had something a bit different in mind. For Valentine’s Day, cultural advocates Venazir Martinez and Taipan Lucero, both connected by their love for Philippine culture, launched their exhibit entitled “Halikha” at The Podium Boutique Hotel.

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Individually, Venazir’s and Tapian’s interpretations on the visual representations of Philippine culture are very different. Venazir coins the term “Hila-bana” for her works, in which her illustrations place focus on the people and textiles of ethnolinguistic groups. On the other hand, Taipan is known for his “CalligraFilipino,” which combines ancestral scripts such as Baybayin, Badlit, and Hanunoo with calligraphy. Together, their works are a match made in heaven.

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In continuing the theme of Valentine’s Day, “Halikha” features portraits of local couples who keep the cultural spirit alive through different arts. In terms of their creative process, Venazir explains that the pieces start with her doing the illustrations, and Taipan adds in the words that he sees fit. While the ability to read Baybayin is still very uncommon, a glimpse of what’s written can be seen through the titles of the pieces. It’s a juxtaposition of freedom and control. While Venazir’s drawings are organic and outspoken, Taipan’s calligraphy brings restraint through clean strokes positioned geometrically.

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Venazir and Taipan are making waves and doing important work in keeping nationalism awake through art. Through their efforts, we are reminded of how truly beautiful our traditional culture is and how it is a privilege to own that identity. As young people, we have the duty to do the same, even in our own little ways.

where to baguio halikha vena taipan

Check out “Halikha”, which will be on display at the Podium Boutique Hotel until March 14, 2020.

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