Long before the modern alphabet landed on our shores, Filipinos already had a form of writing.
Known as Baybayin, this system of writing which existed way before the arrival of the Spaniards, is no longer in use. However, one artist is reviving it through his artwork.
“It is about identity. Filipinos, we’re pretty much invisible,” Kristian Kabuay tells AJ+.
Baybayin was used in the Philippines before the Spanish colonized the islands in the 16th century. Unlike other Asian cultures like the Japanese, Chinese or Thai, Filipinos no longer use this native writing system.
“The script is pretty much extinct,” explains Kabuay.
“The reason why the script went away is, obviously, colonialism. They used the script to convert us to Christians and then, through systematic colonialism, that is when the script slowly got replaced by the Roman alphabet.”
Kabuay believes that normalizing this ancient writing system can help make Filipino culture more visible. His art is inspired by graffiti and can be found on canvasses, hats and bodies.
Kabuay hopes that by spreading knowledge about Baybayin, Filipinos across the diaspora can gain a stronger sense of identity.
This former graffiti artist is trying to revive the ancient script of the Philippines and reclaim his identity.
Posted by AJ+ on Tuesday, 24 October 2017