Weaving Our Dreams
The Tboli People of the Philippines
"Looking back at the Philippine cultural scene of my youth, I recall how the 1960s decade had signalled a robust interest in Filipino ethnic art and culture. That was when Mindanao minority communities, such as the Tboli, received international notice. We, therefore, welcome this current book on the Tboli in which author Sandie Oreta Gillis revives that early fascination with ethnic art and culture of the minority communities of the Philippines. In this illustrated monograph, Gillis gives us direct and detailed personal accounts of the Tboli dreamweavers efforts to preserve and continue their life and culture as manifested in Tboli cloth (tnalak)."
Weaving our Dreams, 2022
Capturing Indigenous Culture with Sandie Oreta Gillis
"When Sandie Oreta Gillis first started writing Weaving Our Dreams: The Tboli People of the Philippines, it was supposed to be a brochure for her friend Francis Herradura's art exhibit about Lake Sebu's indigenous T'boli community. Five years later, that brochure expanded to a 77-page book that features and impressive record of stories from the ethnic group's artists about their sacred traditions.
The book is so meticulously detailed that it comes as a shock that she’s never been in the same room as the indigenous women whose stories she is telling—from the details of Maria “Oyog” Todi’s family home to Barbara Ofong’s weaving work, Sandie has helped paint a picture of life in Lake Sebu from her home in Canada, relying on the dreamweavers’ words and translations from their relatives through Zoom calls.
After five years of research and a deep involvement with the communities around Lake Sebu, Sandie’s team realized that the beauty of the T’boli community’s culture couldn’t fully be captured in such a short piece. And so Weaving Our Dreams: The T’boli People of the Philippines came to be.
While Sandie’s name is on the cover, she insists on turning the spotlight away from her to give way for the T’boli people and their art to shine. Ahead of the book’s official launch, she walks us through her process—from the initial visions of a small booklet to the plans she is now overseeing to continue supporting the T’boli community."
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GRID Magazine, June 2022