Three generations of Thomasian fine arts. Ebarle, Parial and Rabara’s Triptik featured a combination of ethnic designs, caricatures and abstractions, aimed at pooling alumni in time for UST’s 400th celebration. Photos by J.C.A. BASSIG

AS THE University prepares for its 400th-year milestone, a group of alumni decided to honor their alma-mater with an invaluable gift: rekindled school spirit.

The UST Atelier Alumni Association, composed of College of Architecture and Fine Arts graduates (CAFA), attempts to rally the Thomasian alumni in time for the 2011 festivities through “Artistang Tomasino Ako!”, a series of quarterly exhibits which started last month.

“This is to make our graduates feel proud,” curator Maryann Venturina-Bulandi said. “People tend to forget where they came from after graduation, we have to unite Thomasians befor the quadricentennial celebration.”

From June 17 to 30, at the Shangri-La Plaza, Triptik, the first in a series of exhibits, highlighted the “creative spirit that was nurtured inside UST.” Quite fittingly, this theme was evident in the diversity of the medium used by exhibit artists Jane Ebarle, Mario Parial, and Oliver Rabara.The trio, all graduates of Advertising, combined a series of ethnic paintings, digital art and caricatures.

But Triptik did not merely serve as a countdown to 2011. It also celebrated the achievements of Thomasian artists throughout the years, said Bulanadi, who is also a College of Fine Arts and Design professor.

Ebarle, Parial, and Rabara represent three generations of CAFA graduates. Parial is the oldest of the three earning his degree in 1969, while the youngest, Rabara, finished his in 1992.

Culture on canvas

An ace in ethnic designs, Ebarle displayed offshoots from her first one-woman exhibit Ethnicity 1, namely “Maranao,” “Manobo,” “Kalinga,” and “Tausug,” all of which were ornamental designs etched on olden jars but stamped with a “modernized” feel.

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“I found these patterns on books, originally in black-and-white, and this gave me the idea of tweaking the designs into something more colorful,” Ebarle said.

The artworks of this self-confessed “greenhorn of the art scene” are products of extensive research, with the out-of-date ethnic patterns revitalized with booming colors, such as in “Kalinga II,” where the patterns, painted in white, stand out from the rich emerald background.

“I also wanted to do fieldwork for more ethnic patterns, but being a full-time manager, I wasn’t able to do so. I can only rely on books for further ideas,” Ebarle said.

Complementing Ebarle’s ethnicity offshoots was Mario Parial’s homage to the “endandered” image makers, whose worth is slowly diminishing during this age of digital photography.

Armed with his vintage film cameras and a thorough point-of-view, Parial presented 14 photographs pepped up by manual editing.

Parial used the actual photographs as his canvas, splashing them with different shades of basic colors, to produce a peculiar yet fascinating result.

“The fusion of colors with the antiquity of the photographs gave it a special place in the art exhibit,” Parial said.

He further showed his creative side through blends of acrylic, pastel and pencil colors crosshatched with felt tip markers and paper collages to build a picturesque reality.

An example would be in his work “Playground,” wherein Parial used this method to animate the dull black and white field with tinges of green, restoring life into the photo.

Character sketches

Caricatures may attract people due to their famed exaggeration of reality, but for graphic artist Oliver Rabara, these illustrations actually have a deeper meaning

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“Caricature is an art philosophy, this allows the artist to dig deeper into his subject’s inner value,” Rabara said, adding that the art does not only place emphasis on details, but also on character.

His contribution to the exhibit were artworks from his collection Cari-ca-tur: noesis of caring and capturing. This included sketches of his CAFA professors, friends, and colleagues in the art scene. Caricatures of people not acquainted with him were also seen among the artworks.

Rabara explained that he drew these strangers because his work was about the people he came across with, regardless of the length they were together.

“Even the dull and ignorant have stories to share, and artists should be able to bring out their uniqueness and values,” Rabara said.

In the end, the exhibit was successful in its original objectives, as it managed to bring graduates, undergraduates, and even those outside the community together in appreciation of the skill nurtured within the University. James C. Talon

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