5 Standout Features of Baybayin Calligraphy Art You Should Know About

By Lila Marquez

 

 

 

“Kali” a Filipino martial art mixed media on 8×10 canvas board by Kristian Kabuay.

 

Baybayin is a pre-colonial writing system in the Philippines. It is an indigenous alphabet lost in history as Filipinos have been using the Latin alphabet to write over 120 languages in the country since the Spanish colonization in the 16th century. An alphasyllabary (abugida), Baybayin was revived primarily through calligraphic art, most notably by emerging artists in the Philippines and abroad in the likes of Kristian Kabuay, Christine Balza and Yvan Limson, among others. Baybayin variations also originated from other regions across the country, such as Suwat-Bisaya in the Visayas Region.

Teaching Heritage to New Generations

Despite the fact that Baybayin had been ripped apart by colonial rule, its revival in the art scene had sparked numerous cultural movements and political campaigns urging to spring the ancient script back to life. Laws and school curricula were established to legitimize its practice. It also piqued the interest of scholars, educators and writers.

Highlighting Calligraphy Art

As calligraphic art is not a dominant art form in the country, the artistic rendering of the Baybayin script landed an integral spot in ethnic or tribal tattoo art. The lexical art form was first introduced to the modern world by tattoo artists who admire the beauty of the script, as well as, appreciate indigenous traditions. 

Giving a Sense of Home 

What makes Baybayin calligraphy special is its role in the Filipino diaspora. The art form has bridged Filipino-American youth to their roots and brought migrant artists a sense of identity and belonging. The emergence of Baybayin calligraphy art in the Filipino community abroad was one that was born out of the interest in the Philippine colonial history and a reconnection with a long-lost Philippine heritage that exemplified a deep respect for nature. 

Adapting to New Media

The nearly-defunct alphabet, just like its many curves and strokes, has flourished in both traditional and digital art, making it more accessible to all demographic, especially among the millennials. Baybayin calligraphy artists have inspired software developers to create computer fonts and keyboards in various Baybayin scripts.

Influencing Other Art Forms  

Although the art form is more prominent in calligraphy and tattoo art, it has also inspired street artists and emerged in literary forms, such as poetry. Artists who practice Baybayin calligraphy sprouted to express the script in their own style, leading to the rebirth of the lost, but not forgotten, ancient alphabet. 

Currently, Baybayin artworks and artifacts are housed at the National Museum of the Philippines, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts periodically organize Baybayin-related exhibitions and activities, as well. Overall, Baybayin art has served as a window into the world of Filipino indigenous culture. Learning about it is vital because it gives people a chance to discover and appreciate pre-colonial languages in the Philippines, as well as, understand the country’s rich ethnic backdrop. 

Feature image: Armineonila M., “Baybayin Out of the Box”, 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just please attribute the images to Flickr | Christian Cabuay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just please attribute the images to Flickr | Christian Cabuay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional dresses
Photo by Denniz Futalan

 

 

 

 

 

Paliparan” by Lila Marquez, “Amoy Abroad: Mga Tula Mula sa Malayo”, 2021.
Here’s the link: http://poetry.lilamarquez.com/2021/04/amoy-abroad.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iloilo boat
Photo by June Famur Jr

 

 

 

 

About

Lila Marquez is a Filipino writer and artist. Lila Marquez is a Filipino writer and artist. Also known as Armineonila M., she has written for various newspapers, magazines and journals. Her articles, poems, short stories, digital paintings and comic strips have also been published in several publications in the Philippines, Kuwait and abroad. Lila’s artworks and art series have been displayed in art exhibitions in the USA, the UK, China

 

 

PUBLISHED: https://happiness-360.com/2022/10/18/5-standout-features-of-baybayin-calligraphy-art-you-should-know-about/

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