Philippine Women's University

Project title: Reviving the Isinay Ikat Weaving Tradition, Embodying Indigenous and Cultural Value in Contemporary Life and Practice
Focal landscape: Nueva Viscaya, Northern Philippines
Recipients: Dr Patricia Maria Araneta

Dr Patricia Maria Araneta is a sustainable development advocate, educator, curator, and community weaver. She obtained her PhD in Traditional Arts and Development from the University of Wales. Her lifelong advocacy includes building awareness of traditional arts and cultural heritage values and supporting an integrated framework for an inter-disciplinary and multi-dimensional education with the ultimate goal of ensuring a sustainable future. She is a Project Director for community projects and works independently with the Ayala Foundation; a Trustee of the Enrique Zobel Foundation; works for Luis Ma San Agustin Museum Araneta Gallery in project conception, organisation and coordination; current Southeast Asia Programme Manager at the Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts; has held posts as Program Director and Regional Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific; worked for various Civil Society organisations; a foreign NGO Secretariat and manged a local NGO.

Isinay banket 'Originally woven by the Isinay of Nueva Vizcaya, the blanket had translocal connections through trade and ritual use among the different ethnolinguistic groups' - Analyn Salvador-Amores ©

Patricia Ma Araneta

About the project

The project revolves around the revival of a weaving tradition that declined and then disappeared with the Christianisation of the Isinay. Once known for the finest indigo-dyed Ikat weaves the Isinay funerary blankets were coveted by the indigenous groups in the Cordilleras. It was very valuable not only for its physical manifestations but for its prestige and symbolism, so valuable that the Ifugao adopted the ikat technique. The Ifugao eventually lost this tradition as well but was able to revive it about 10 years ago and are now producing contemporary ikat blankets, some replicating extant pieces in foreign museums. Today, the Isinay are hoping to learn from the Ifugao that which they learned from their ancestors.
In addition, both the Ifugao and Isinay are interested in growing organic cotton for their threads and plant-based dyes among other materials associated with the ikat weave.
What we hope to achieve is clear and complete documentation of the ikat weaving process. In this digital age, there is no reason to lose such a tradition that can be stored in a cloud but mostly in the aspirations of a people who know that not all that is lost can be found again, restored and revived. The project aims to work with the communities involved in defining and designing their own development that is inclusive, integrated and sustainable. The outcomes envisaged besides the documentation is an ongoing enterprise that is socially, culturally and environmentally responsible.