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Vibrant Moro art in focus at ‘Manara’



The minaret — manara in Arabic — is a symbol that looms over all other in Islamic architecture. These towers are built adjacent to mosques, where the adhan or call to prayer is made.

Artists Toym Imao and Lilianna Manahan have partnered to bring these sacred structures closer to members of the public who have grown distant from the Filipino Muslim or Moro culture.

Imao, who grew up in an interfaith household, hopes that the art they've produced chips away at the increasingly violent stereotypes on Islamic culture — a goal that the Ayala Foundation shares.

"The interactive installation will showcase the Moro culture as a means to demystify any stereotypes that have been instilled in people's minds, and create a depper understanding and appreciation for the Moro people group," the organization stated.

Manahan, a Christian, visited Marawi and Lanao for the first time for the exhibit, which gave her a new perspective on the region.

"What I saw was their dedication to the craft and how they still have that sense of passing things down, but the children don't really want to continue it anymore. It's kind of sad, because they make such beautiful things," she told GMA News Online in an interview at their workshop Thursday.

With her work, Manahan hopes to help promote the beauty she saw while also inspiring other artists to explore what the Moro culture has to offer.

This collaboration, Imao explained, highlights the fact that the divide formed by religion is imaginary and people of different faiths have are more alike than divergent.

"I think there was a meeting of minds. We somehow embodied what we were trying to do with this installation in that we found commonalities rather than differences," Imao explained.

"Manara" opens at the Ayala Museum plaza on May 3. — TJD, GMA News

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