The Art of Ukkil

I want to share my new experimental works that i created in flash during a seminar that we conducted last May12-15. With the use of the pen tool and pencil tools, i doodle different objects and scenes and applied the ukkil effect in the artwork. Ukkil is a technique used in Mindanao, specifically in the Sulu Peninsula. It is a decorative design that is used in carving, basketry, pottery, and weaving with patterns similar to the western style of Arabesque and Art Nouveau.

According to my Humanities teacher, during the Byzantine era, the Iconoclasts influenced the art of the Arabic countries spreading across Asia. Before, it was a sin for Muslims to recreate or paint/sculpt the creations of God such as human or animals. That's why they used geometric patterns, ornamental designs and icons. We can see this in the art of the Tausug, Maranao and Yakans here in Mindanao, which applies shapes and patterns similar to the art during the Byzantine era. Ukkil usually have motifs shaped like waves, ropes, calligraphy, decor and colors.

But today, that belief seems to be gone already. The yakans already has new designs that are influenced by their surroundings like the kenna-kenna, patterned after a fish; dawen-dawen (leaf of a vine) ; pene mata-mata, (eye) and the bunga-sawa (python). In Ukkil, they have motifs of creatures like the sarimanok, horse, insects, fishes, dragons, flowers and even humans.

I personally know one of Philippines best painter who uses the style of ukkil in his paintings and drawings. He is Mr Rameer Tawasil. Mr Tawasil was my teacher in oil painting one summer and he is also my student in photoshop that year. His art is very vivid and cultural. He mastered his ukkil style in painting and now he is known nationally for his style. Here are some essential links that you might want to visit:

Ukkil, Visual Arts of the Sulu Archipelago

Paintings of Rameer Tawasil
my Vector Ukkil Doodles
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