CVPA’s Painting and Drawing faculty are thrilled to share Bhen Alan, one of our stellar alumni (BFA, Painting'19), is the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright award 2022-2023 to the Philippines to study indigenous mat weaving. Bhen’s research and independent study will compare and contrast the rich "banig" weaving of the Philippines from all angles - the technique, rituals, history, and stories.
Banig weaving is integral to Filipino artistry that holds memories and stories of its weaver's life and works and the community-at-large. Globalization and westernization pressures to commercialize banig risks the future of the culture of its making. Bhen intends to deeply understand the history and traditions of un-colonized weaving and consider its role in contemporary culture and art. He will be working with Palawan State University and Silliman University in Dumaguete to investigate the creation, process, spirituality, and materiality of the un-colonized banig weaving practice of the Molbog indigenous group from Southern Palawan and local tribes in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. With his affiliates and the community, in particular the youth, they will explore the prospects of both cultural and environmental sustainability.
As a student in our Painting program, Bhen received UMass Dartmouth’s Office of Undergraduate Research grant to the Philippines in 2018, a precursor of this major award. Bhen is about to earn his MFA in Painting degree from the Rhode Island School of Design with the RISD Grad Show 2022. To see Bhen’s work visit www.bhenalanart.com or @bhen_alan