Freeway presents: Abdulmari Imao

29 May 2016

Freeway's National Artist Collector’s Series launches are always wonderful to witness, so I make it a point to go whenever my schedule permits me to. Art, history, culture, and fashion literally collide as Freeway continues to revolutionize the meaning of fashionalism, this time by showcasing the works of the first and only Moro honored as National Artist of the Philippines to date, Abdulmari Imao.

Named National Artist for Sculpture in 2006, Imao worked not only as a sculptor but also as a painter, ceramist, photographer, film maker, and writer. He was a patron of Philippine Muslim Art and Culture and is known for his unique adaptation of traditional Muslim motifs in his works such as ukkil, sarimanok, pakorabong, and naga. Imao’s artworks exude a strong sense of nationalism and passion for his culture and heritage, a fine example of unity through diversity.

I went to the launch with my friend Alex and my boyfriend Miah and we had a ball checking out the National Artist's sculptures and artworks on display alongside the works of his son Toym Imao.

Twinning with Alex
Imao's sculptures and paintings are reinstated to a lavishly beautiful 40-piece collection that includes casual and dressy tops, graphic tees, jumpsuits, and dresses. Ranging from casual to semi-formal, the collection offers rich colored sublimation print dresses and tops that can be worn by the modern Filipina to day to night affairs. It also features woven fabrics, soft materials, and thick knits perfected to flatter one’s figure, with all pieces using comfortable stretch fabric. What's more, you can also get unique and memorable gift items such as the popular canvas printed shopping bags, fans, coin purse, utility case, and more from the Freeway x Imao collection.

Here are my top picks from this collection:

Knit Halter Maxi Sublimation Dress with Free-flowing Geometric Artwork
Overlay Dress Sublimation Neoprene with Sari-Fish Print, Red
Printed Haltered Chiffon Stretch Sublimation Dress, Purple
Sari-fish Micropeach Off Shoulder Sublimation Tunic, White
Sarimanok Chiffon Overlay On Charmeuse Halter Sublimation Dress, White
Short Sleeved Charmeuse Sublimation Long Back Dress,White
Sleeveless Twill Stretch Sublimation Fitted Dress, Yellow
Drawstring Bag
I reserved the first dress for me but I'm still waiting for Freeway Glorietta to call me to say it's already there, but now I'm tempted to get more. -_-

What touched me with the late Imao's story is the fact that he was born to a poor family but that didn't stop him from pursuing art, at a time when his social class and didn't give him enough opportunities. He showed the world what he could do, and the late President Ramon Magsaysay took notice and the rest, as they say, is history. It's funny that he tried to discourage his son Toym from pursuing art, mainly because, as he said, there was no money in it. But the blood of an artist flows in his veins, you see, thus we are gifted with Toym's wonderful works as well. This is something I wouldn't have known in case Freeway didn't choose to continuously honor our National Artists through these capsule collections.

A hopeful experiment, Freeway's National Artist Collectors' Series started out in 2009 as a pocket collection to pay tribute to the works of our National Artists. As expected, it was well appreciated and resulted to creating awareness and increasing appreciation shown towards our own Filipino Art and Culture. Since then, Freeway has paid tribute to the following National Artists bi-annually:

Nick Joaquin (Literature)
AngKiukok (Visual Arts)

Jose Garcia Villa (Literature)
Ramon Valera (Fashion)

F. Sionil Jose (Literature) - living National Artist
Vicente Manansala ( Visual Arts)

Levi Celerio (Music)
Botong Francisco (Visual Arts) - 100th Centennial Celebration

Lucio San Pedro (Music) - 100th Centennial Celebration
Juan Luna ( Visual Arts)

BienvenidoLumbera (Literature) - living National Artist
Federico AguiarAlcuaz (Visual Arts)

Benedicto Cabrera (Visual Arts) - living National Artist

And now, 2016, Abdulmari Imao (Sculpture). Thank you, Freeway. Keep doing what you do.

Now, how do you dress up a dress-down outfit for a meeting? With a scarf. Hopefully one from the Freeway x Abdulmari Imao collection.

Freeway x Abdulmari Imao is available at all Freeway and The Row branches nationwide and online via their official website and Zalora. You may also visit Freeway's Facebook Page, Twitter, and Instagram. Enjoy shopping!

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