“Breaking Fast: An Index of the Filipino Muslims in the Vargas Collection” opens at the UP Vargas Museum – Library and Archives at the third floor on August 5, 2014 at 4pm.
As an Islamic observance, Ramadan is a time for reflection. This exhibition recovers from the museum’s collection instances for evaluation. It looks at how Filipino Muslims are regarded using Jorge Vargas as an index. At the same time, it takes interest in the nuances in Philippine Islamic discourse including the “Moro problem,” the exoticism of Islam particularly Muslim indigenous groups and other forms of marginalization as well as practices that lead to kitschy imagery. It inquires into how reality is constructed by institutions.
Space is the springboard of different issues with land as a fundamental concern. Uncovered from the rariora is the 1901 report of the Philippine Commission to the American President regarding the Philippines describing the land and its people. Intriguing is how indigenous groups including Filipino Muslims were portrayed with malice. It marks the relationship of the country with other nations. Taking cue from political concerns is the practice of othering by the government through certain policies and the use of the term “non-Christians.” News and other publications complicate the visualization of Muslims in the country and reveal deep-seated anxieties. Fasting becomes a metaphor for these issues which the exhibit aims to break.