RICO and Melanie Hizon are art patrons who travel a lot. On these globe-trotting trips, they discovered artist palettes of different shapes and sizes. After asking some local artist to paint on their palettes, the Hizons’ unique art collection was born.

Their collection is now on a campus tour and the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences is the third leg of the tour titled, “Through the Palette’s Eye.” The exhibit boasts of a wide variety of artistic styles and techniques. The impressive roster of Filipino artists includes art masters like National Artist Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Malang, and Philippine Association of Printmakers president Raul Isidro. The works of young artists like Marcel Antonio, Alfredo Esquillo, Jose Santos III, and Allan Jay Balisi also grace the Hizons’ collection.

The use of a distinctive ground (the palette) and the representation of wide artistic expressions in the artworks convinced the art-loving couple to exhibit them publicly instead of simply keeping them at home. They have decided to tour the collection among schools in Metro Manila which offer fine arts courses or which have museums or appropriate places for exhibition. Rico, a British Broadcasting Corporation news anchor, and his events manager wife, Melanie, feel that their collection can serve as an interesting source of learning, particularly for students of the arts.

The palettes now exude the history, artistry and passion of Bencab recreating his Sabel, Magsaysay-Ho with her barrio women, and Malang and his woman vendor.

Paintings by Thomasian artists are also included in the collection. Some of them are Jose Datuin’s “Grace,” which creates a dynamic but subtle effect with its twisting lines and shifting hues. Young Thomasian Artists Circle member CJ Tañedo paints “Hope” which, contrary to the title, imposes a dark and gloomy effect with its dark colors. Norma Belleza’s “Harvest Season” depicts simplicity with townsfolk tending to a fisherman’s catch for the day. Isidro’s double-sided painted palette “Sunrise Sunset,” which depicts sunrise and sunset with a few and multiple line strokes respectively, on different scales of heaviness, has in a deep blue background.

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The Hizons began their collection when they discovered during their travels that palettes come in various shapes and sizes. Then they started buying palettes with hopes of getting Filipino artists paint on them. Since 2002 when the collection was started, the number of art pieces has grown to 45.

The civic-minded couple, being active with the Filipino community in Singapore for the last eight years, thought the exhibit could be a chance to help raise funds for a good cause. Sponsorship proceeds went to the Laura Vicuña Foundation and the Vides Philippines Volunteers Foundation, which work with disadvantaged youth.

The exhibit gives the palette a whole new different light—extending more than its basic function where the imaginative artist mixes his colors. Unnoticed as it had seemed for quite a long time, it has now served more than its usual function. Nevertheless, the palette will still serve the arts and the passionate artist. R. S. Mejia

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