Get to know the first Tausūg National Artist’s work through this free font

Get to know the first Tausūg National Artist’s work through this free font

Do you know the name Abdulmari Asia Imao?

In 2006, artist and cultural researcher Abdulmari Asia Imao was hailed Philippine National Artist for Visual Arts. On top of the feat, he is also the first Moro to grace the Order of National Artists and has been able to shine a spotlight onto Suluk art for the rest of the nation to appreciate.

Despite landmark achievements, he passed away in 2014 with most of the Filipino people not knowing who he is. But his trademark Sarimanok creations in the dynamic, undulating style of Okir might ring a bell for people, though.

To put a name to the artwork, J. Walter Thompson Philippines and Ayala Museum have partnered to present the Imao Obra Typeface. The project translates Imao’s vibrant washes of color and Sarimanok imagery from his artwork to fonts, which we all encounter on the regular. (The font is free and accessible for the public to download here!)

Imao Obra is the first in a series of fonts inspired by Philippine National Artists called the Obra Typeface. To celebrate the pioneer brainchild of the series, the Ayala Museum will be opening an exhibit for the Imao font to the public from May 7 to 30. Everyday items will be on display, which will be decorated and reimagined through incorporation of the Obra Imao font.

Wearable pieces like shirts, shoes, jackets and bags will also be on display, along with other home items like pots, centerpieces, a chair and more. These creations are courtesy of collaborating artists and brands Abre Linea, Aranaz, Artwork, Boyet Custodio, Drin Alejandro, Femi Cachola, Fine Time Studios, Geoff Estevez, Jappy Agoncillo, Joco Comendador, Kenneth Tan, Pako.ph, Renan Pacson, Support Your Friends, Wanderskye and Drea Dizon, Leeroy New, Ibarra Watches, and WSH.

If you’d like to see the creations for yourself, head over to the Ayala Museum and go on ahead because the entrance is free! In the meantime, here’s a peek at what’s in store for you at the exhibit.

Header from the Obra Typeface website

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Giselle Barrientos
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