What does a Filipina look like? One scroll over your newsfeed and you’d see hundreds of TikTok videos of girls with porcelain skin, silky hair and probably a swipe of red. But where local art is concerned, you are far more radiant than that standard.
While there’s nothing wrong with that (your body, your choice!), let’s go back in time when our country wasn’t plagued with whitening products. Brown skin, dark curly hair, and bare faced beauties—these are the common photos of the early Filipinas that surfaced upon a simple Google search. (Quick, do it yourself.) As a child, have you ever wondered, why were we taught to stay out of the sun to not get any darker? Why was it so ingrained in us that the only way you can be accepted by society was to have skin light as snow? How much did our standards of beauty change since gaining our freedom from colonization?
Immortalizing the different facets of the Filipina, we pay homage to infamous artists who’ve wielded their brushes and straightened their canvases to depict the spirit of the said woman—from her vulnerabilities, her beauty, her grace, down to her grit in this fashion editorial.
WOMAN WITH FAN BY BEN CAB
Benedicto Cabrera or Ben Cab has been known for his thought-provoking muses. Most notably Sabel, a bedraggled woman wandering the streets wearing straps of plastic that he painted beautifully. White dress with puffed sleeves (worn as top) by STEPH TAN, Two-toned banaca wraps both by DITTA SANDICO
FILIPINA BY FABIAN DELA ROSA
Born to a family of artists, Fabian dela Rosa was hailed as the Master of Genre in the Philippines and served as the uncled and mentor to both Fernando and Pablo Amorsolo.
Gazar terno by RAFFAELA at KULTURA, Two-toned banaca wrap by DITTA SANDICO, Black pencil skirt by WEAVE, Floral embroidered skirt by JINKIE TAN, Taupe black heels by CHARLES & KEITH and leather bag by ARANAZ
THE MAID OF BATAAN BY FERNANDO AMORSOLO
During the years of war, Fernando Amorsolo’s beautiful landscapes and the ebullient smiles have vanished, and his canvas was dominated by burning edifices, death and despair.
THE PALAY MAIDEN BY FERNANDO AMORSOLO
Probably one of his best-known pieces, Fernando Amorsolo was known for his mastery of natural outdoor light, a trademark that was later called the Philippine Sun.
LA INOCENCIA BY FELIX RESURRECCION HIDALGO
Late 19th century gold medalist painter Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo not only was influential in the arts, but also served as inspiration for the Philippine reform movement which included Rizal.
UNA BULAQUENA BY JUAN LUNA
Known for his temperamental nature, Juan Luna was an icon in Philippine history not only as a painter but also as a political activist.