Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center, together with the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, will be launching, Espasyo at Identidad: Mga Ekspresyon sa Kultura, Mga Sining, at Lipunan ng mga Muslim sa Filipinas, a book by Professor Abraham Sakili, on 7 November 2017, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Japan Hall, UP Asian Center, QC. The launch is free and open to the public, but seating is first-come, first-served.


Espasyo at Identidad: Mga Ekspresyon sa Kultura, Mga Sining, at Lipunan ng mga Muslim sa Filipinas is the Filipino translation of Space and Identity: Expressions in the Culture, Arts, and Society of the Muslims in the Philippines published in 2003 by the UP Asian Center. Using ‘space’ as a theoretical lens, and Islamic doctrines on art and theology as a background, Dr. Sakili examines the following art forms:

    • Architecture (masjid or mosque, langgal, torogan, local dwellings and traditional boats

    • Surfaces (traditional textiles, handwoven mats, wood and metals where ukkil (curvilinear) and siyabit (geometrical) designs are used. This also includes the pis siyulatan (amulet) and religious books which feature Arabic calligraphy, localized as jawi)

    • Arts with square format (pis siyabit, tubao, and saputangan)

    • Arts that are forward- or upward-looking dubbed as the “Muslim flying arts” which include (burraq, sarimanok, among many others)

    • Traditional paintings (boras or rattan mat) and littuk-littukan or bulak-bulak (face painting)

    • Stylized figurative forms, the discussion on which springs from “the Islamic injunction against figurative forms.”

In Muslim art, the Islamic notion of space and time is tied up with Tawhid or the Unity of the Divine Principle which underlies the Muslims’ basic assumptions of the university, defines their relations with nature and guides them to understand how elements are interrelated in different art forms, as well as in diverse cultural settings (Back cover of Space and Identity)


The book will be sold at a discounted price (PhP 200) during the launch. Regular price is PhP 230. Other works on Muslim history, art, and culture in the Philippines by Dr. Sakili will be available for sale. 


The program will include a lecture by Professor Sakili, "Diversity in Unity Through Space in Art and Culture." 


Abraham Sakili, Ph.D. is Professor of Art and Humanities, Department of Art Studies, College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines Diliman. He has a BA in International Relations from Mindanao State University in Marawi, and obtained his MA and PhD in Philippine Studies from the University of the Philippines. An artist, he has conducated public lectures and written articles on the humanities and on Philippine Muslim art, culture, and history, as well as on Moro issues in the southern Philippines.


The book launch is organized by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, which published the translation; and the UP Asian Center.


For directions to the venue, please view this vicinity map or go to Google Street ViewFor inquiries, please email the Information Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Get an overview of these programs. The Asian Center also houses a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia. It has published several books and monographs, and hosts or organizes various lectures and conferences.