The UST Museum’s annual St. Thomas Aquinas exhibit encourages freshmen to follow the scholarly saint’s example. Photo by  J.T. CAMPOSAS ITS opening exhibit titled “Sunstruck—A Dreamer, A Believer, A Survivor,” paid tribute to the University’s patron saint from June 6 to July 1, the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences promised to boost Thomasian pride even more in its upcoming exhibits and events, especially with its Visual Arts Gallery slated to open on July 19.

“The UST Museum has decided to put up the exhibition every opening of the academic year so that the patron saint of the University may be properly introduced to the freshmen,” said UST Museum Director Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P.

This year’s exhibit was not only mounted to serve as a rite of passage for freshmen, but also to build hype for the unveiling of the newest feature of the oldest university museum, its Visual Arts Gallery.

“This exhibit is a kick-off for the upcoming presentations and events of the museum, especially the Visual Arts Gallery opening. It will feature paintings of national artists and known Thomasians who excel in the visual arts,” said UST Museum attendant Robert de Leon.

He added that the gallery will be placed in the upper right side of the museum, or the former office of the auditor.

Brainchild of Fr. Jose Antonio Aureada, O.P., regent of the Graduate School and former dean of the Faculty of Sacred Theology, the exhibit was also the pre-launching event of a book by Fr. Aureada that tells the life of St. Thomas.

Titled “An Angelic Mind in a Human Face, St. Thomas Aquinas: His Life in Visual,” the book features detailed accounts of the saint’s life, photographs, and artworks by the author, who is also an artist.

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“He believed in the capacity of the human mind to discover and know the truth,” Aureada wrote.

The show was actually a re-exhibition of the original “Sunstruck” exhibit held in 2004. The title, “Sunstruck,” was drawn from a common feature in the portraits of the saint—the sun.

The exhibit included a miniature model of St. Thomas’ birthplace, the Aquino Castle in Roccasecca. The replica caught the eyes of spectators with its unique design composed of small bricks and subtle figures.

A panel board bearing the photographs of the Angelic Doctor showed his famous portrait that illustrates the counting of the fingers, which signifies one of his philosophical teachings, Distinguo (I Distinguish), or the nuances behind unanswered questions.

The show also presented the travels of St. Thomas in the cities of Europe. Through detailed maps of his journeys’ routes, Thomasians were given the chance to further appreciate the saint’s adventures.

Meanwhile, a 3D image of the saint holding a house made from hardwood was the centerpiece of the exhibit. The well-preserved and delicately-designed effigy was borrowed from the Hall of Philippine Religious Images of the UST Museum, where it is usually stationed.

With the success of the book and the exhibit, Fr. Auerada revealed plans of publishing comics that will make the life story of St. Thomas even more relatable and appealing to children. Reden D. Madrid

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