Members of the San Francisco diplomatic corps and special guests were treated to the opening of the The Hinabi Project, a unique and special project of Philippine American Writers & Artists Inc (PAWA) launched in conjunction with the Philippine Department of Tourism and the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco. The Hinabi Project launched the educational display of Piña, An Enduring Philippine Fabric at the Asian Art Museum San Francisco. Spearheaded by its volunteer members: Maya Ong, Christina Lawkowski, Edwin Lozada, Michael Gonzalez, Anthony Cruz Legarda, Caroline Ocampo, Maria Beebe and Patricia Araneta Gonzalez, the display currently shown at the museum's Resource Room feature the development of 300 years of piña fabric production from its early origins in the 1500s to contemporary times. On exhibit are fibers that are used for weaving, the natural color-dyed piña samples, an antique pañuelo (short shawl), christening gown and an evening dress made during the 1930s courtesy of the Lacis Museum of Berkeley. These are juxtaposed with newly constructed piña shawl, a handkerchief with an embroidered Golden Gate design, Barong Tagalog, and evening gowns design by Anthony Cruz Legarda, the project’s design artist. Specially for this event, three large panels of piña and mixed fiber (hyacinth, or paper) were specially woven by master weavers and embroiderers from Aklan and Laguna. The panels represent popular folk motifs of the Philippines - the malakas and maganda (male/female) myth and the sarimanok (magical rooster).
Also special to this exhibit, in a nod to technology, the Creation panel has a QR code that will take your cellphone scanner to the Hinabi Project site where more information about its members, mission and plans can be read. PAWA, a recognized leader of cultural events in the Bay Area is a 501c3 organization. It will also host a panel talk by known piña experts Patis Tesoro and Prof. Lynne Milgram on October 4 during the FilBook Festival at the San Francisco Public Library.
The Hinabi Project exhibit was a combined effort of several individuals and organizations. But specially, by the extraordinary weavers from Aklan and Lumban embroiderers who worked overtime to complete the piña in time for the exhibit. The exhibit is just as much a tribute to their work and dedication to their craft.