STARK white walls on long, winding halls. Austere and immaculate. That is the usual picture one gets of hospitals.

But a closer look at the UST Hospital will pack a few surprises, in the form of various paintings and photographs that abound in the place. And the surprise is made more pleasant by the fact that most of these brilliant works of art are creations of USTH’s resident doctors, revealing a lighter and more creative side from these persons whose usual tools of the trade are scalpels and probes.

On the first floor of the hospital are fine replicas of Vicente Manasala’s murals originally found in the lobby of the University’s Medicine Building. The murals feature images with medical, or more fundamentally, “healing” themes. The definite standout is a panel featuring an image of the miraculous healings at Lourdes, France because of its rich, vibrant colors and clever symmetry.

Also notable are pieces by Jesus Belegal, a retired UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts professor, found on the hospital’s pediatrics wing. His works depict children playing out their dreams of becoming doctors, brimming with unbridled innocence as they go about their lighthearted fantasies. The artist used animated colors to bring out the life within the canvas.

The doctor is in (his studio)

What truly takes center stage are doctors’ works found on the Santo Tomas wing of the hospital. “A Landscape,” by Eusebio Llamas M.D., depicts a landscape of lush greens, using textured colors to bring that three-dimensional effect.

Another of Llamas’ contributions, “Fishermen’s Village,” is a depiction of a seaside village with the sunset as backdrop. Harmonious colors are in play here, the color gradations effectively conveying the passionate mood of the scenery. The artist used a blotting technique to give that windy effect, perfect for that “by-the-sea” feel.

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'Walang himala'

Meanwhile, Dr. Ronald Yutangco’s “Harana” and “Istambay” depict conventional Filipino cultural quirks. Although istambay has a negative connotation nowadays, the painting portrays an interesting vision of people together in harmony. Yutangco’s works have vivacious colors, making for a fluid look.

Dr. Jose Duran’s “Landscape” sets itself apart from the other paintings in having simplicity for a key ingredient. The artist chose horizontal symmetry to capture the magnificence of the natural scene, using pastel colors to set that soothing effect.

Duran’s “Foolish Dog” is the only abstract in the collection. The minimal use of colors and blends give that mysterious aura the artist was probably aiming for.

An untitled painting by Dr. Leopoldo Pardo depicts a doctor with a patient in a rural scene. The play on light and shadow is very impressive in this image—a midnight scenario in a nipa hut. The characters are very realistic, the fine curves and lines of human faces full and sharply detailed.

The power of these artworks lies in their bringing color and life into a world heavy with pain and suffering. No matter how subtly, they remind patients and passersby alike that there are still things in this world to be joyful about. Anne Nerissa C. Alina

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