Interiors and Exteriors
Art and Design
Objects and Antiquities

Thursday, February 2


Of all the new shops to open along Dundas Street West, MAGIKS, just west of Dufferin, is the jewel in the crown.  In among the home furnishings you will find remarkable examples of antique Filipino wood carving and a history lesson, if you ask - which I did...

When Spain colonized the area that was to become the Philippines in the sixteenth century, they brought with them the Catholic faith and a Hispanic sensibility.  This European influence combined with the talent and ingenuity of the indigenous artists, has created a legacy of objects that are both unique and arresting.

I was particularly interested in the 'santos' figures made to represent various Catholic saints. The head and the hands are carved with care and attached to a more rudimentary framework which is adorned with elaborate robes.  The regalia is completed with a wig fashioned from the fibres of a pineapple leaf and a fine metal crown. The glass eyes set into the head bring the figure to life.  Some of the pieces showcased are nineteenth century and some are contemporary but all are made for religious, not commercial purposes, and I think that you can see this in the expression and movement of the work.

There is also a large collection of 'Bul- ul' which are boundary markers for rice fields.  These markers are tall, wooden human forms intent on warding off invaders from both the spiritual and material plane:  not something you see everyday, especially placed in the context of a shop devoted exclusively to their country of origin.  What a pleasure to catch an unexpected glimpse of  the culture and history of another country in your own backyard.

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