THOMASIAN artistry has hit platinum.

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Fine Arts program in the University, the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) presented Visions at Platinum, showcasing the works of Thomasian visual artists of the four disciplines—painting, advertising, interior design, and industrial design—from Nov. 8 to 18 at the GSIS Museo ng Sining.

CFAD Dean Jaime delos Santos said approximately a hundred artists lent their work for the exhibit.

The works bore witness to generations of Thomasian artistry. Print Association of the Philippines president Raul Isidro’s “Farmer’s Day,” a gold and red-dominated print, showed his expertise in printmaking. Mario Santiago’s watercolors “Saintly Aquarium number 4: Pope John Paul II” and “Saintly Aquarium number 5: Mother Theresa” celebrated key religious icons of our time Younger artists have also exhibited their works, as well as CFAD faculty members. The paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, graphic designs, and furniture designs took up most of the museum’s exhibit space.

With more and more young artists emerging, Delos Santos says CFAD is geared towards further excellence.

“The students are so young and yet they are already very creative,” he said.

He mentioned Ronaldo Ventura, a CCP 13 Artist awardee at 32. “Most of the seasoned artists do not achieve this until they’re 50 or 60,” he said.

Ventura’s painting, “Warming,” was also in the exhibit. Featuring his trademark luminescent style, a man with a volcano head with a faint world map as his background implied global warming.

The exhibit is the first anniversary exhibit in 40 years, and since the Fine Arts department separated from the College of Architecture in 2000.

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Most Fine Arts students are deeply involved in painting and sculpting, “but we have to earn a living,” Delos Santos said. So in 1956, the Advertising Arts program was introduced, to be followed by the Interior Design baccalaureate program the next year. Though relatively young, the Industrial Design department celebrated its silver anniversary two years ago.

The college has a long tradition of excellence. National Artists like Arturo Luz, Ang Kiukok, Victorio Edades, and J. Elizalde Navarro are alumni of the then College of Architecture and Fine Arts. University of the Philippines-educated masters Vicente Manansala and Carlos “Botong” Francisco taught generations of Thomasian artists. Once called the “Bastion of Modern Art,” the college is very proud of its alumni, as many have gained international prestige, while some are leaders in the local art scene.

With the 18 other art schools in the Philippines vying for the top spot, there is much competition for CFAD. But as Visions at Platinum has shown, with the quality of its alumni, the college can hold on to its long, illustrious, and continuing tradition of Thomasian excellence. Florian C. Garcia


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