Pitt adds Philippine Nationality Room to collection
Room 313 is number 31.
The Philippine Nationality Room is the 31st addition to the Nationality Rooms inside the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.
Twenty years in the making, the room will be dedicated on Sunday. There will be a cultural festival with traditional food, music, dance performances and tours of the room.
The Philippine Nationality Room is the first room to be dedicated since 2015.
“Despite the large variations in architecture throughout the more than 7,000 islands of the Philippines, the traditional 18th-century design and décor will be immediately recognizable to anyone of Filipino heritage,” said Maryann Sivak, assistant to the director of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms Program.
Notable aspects of the design include artwork by Eliseo Art Silva exemplifying Philippine life and culture such as wide floor planks and cane weave chairs, Sivak wrote in a university publication. He spent last summer transforming the ceiling and has created more than 100 public art installations all over the U.S.
Silva told Sivak he “finds a sense of freedom in bridging the intensity of Filipino culture in the American cultural landscape.”
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Pitt’s Nationality Rooms, established in 1926, pay tribute to various cultural groups that settled in Allegheny County. The classrooms are located on the first and third floors of the Cathedral of Learning and are used as functioning classrooms. Pitt’s Nationality Rooms are maintained and supported through a partnership between the local populations of these cultural groups and the University of Pittsburgh.
Other artifacts in the room include a brass chandelier, capiz-shell windows, a ceremonial key and a Venetian-style mirror, said Michael Walter, Nationality Rooms coordinator and an adviser for the tour guide student group. There are paintings of a Filipino female, a university student, a view of a typical village and the quartermaster’s house, Walter said.
There also will be four university seals representing the oldest universities in the Philippines. They are the University of San Carlos, the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Thomas (the Catholic University of the Philippines), Colegio de San Juan de Letran and Colegio de Santa Isabel, according to Sivak.
Artifacts from the Philippines will be on display in a cabinet.
They expect about 500 guests, including 180 for a preregistered dinner that day, Walter said. There will be guides dressed in Philippine attire inside the room to welcome visitors, Walter said.
Here is the schedule for Sunday:
1:50 p.m. – Procession from the Cathedral of Learning to Heinz Memorial Chapel
2 p.m. –Formal dedication ceremony, followed by procession to Cathedral of Learning
3 p.m. – Festival in the Cathedral of Learning commons room
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .