Understanding the babaylan means more than just reading about the past and critiquing the present. The artist expresses the principles of the babaylan through her work.
Mary Ann Ubaldo writes:
I am an artist that deeply relates to our Filipino culture. It is a decolonization process(pagbabalik loob) for me of reconnecting with the past to get a better understanding of the present and be able to envision the future.
Going through this process strengthens the cultural connection to the Filipino indigenous culture, ideology as a source of grounding.
In this way, it promotes cultural and spiritual connection making it possible for us to identify with one's people and history despite personal, generational, education, economic classes and other forms of differences.
Language and the way of writing are foundations of one's culture. By using Baybayin/Alibata in my art it is a deeper search of our identity and understanding how the loss of language, ancient scripts affects our Filipino identity, that the Filipino culture is the soul of our people, a connection to our folk soul.
I could really say, I am on a LAKARAN, that inspired me to do it, a spiritual journey/ pilgrimage, towards understanding a little bit better our spiritual heritage. It is a pilgrimage back to my Filipino cultural roots, a search going back to our KATAALAN.
I see the power of art as a tool to educate and raise consciousness about our indigenous roots. I am reinventing who we are, making sense of what is it to be a Filipino/Filipina, not defined by colonizers.
I believe, there is an inner guiding spirit which I identify as my MUTYA, the spiritual force (diwa/soul) of Inang Bayan (Motherland), that leads me in my art. I am guided by BATHALA & our ancestors.
Through her different lines of jewelry, Mary Ann expresses the intricate relationship between the artist and her beliefs, providing a tangible method for others to connect with the deepness of the babaylan world-view.