CFAD TURNS PINK: College of Fine Arts and Design graduates don pink face masks during their solemn investiture rites held the same day as the inauguration of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the country’s 17th president on June 30.

GRADUATES of the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) donned pink face masks during their solemn investiture rites, which coincided with the inauguration of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the country’s 17th president on June 30.

CFAD is commonly associated with the colors maroon and green, which were also the campaign colors of the winning Marcos-Duterte tandem for the 2022 elections.

But for Ijay Cabero, an advertising arts graduate from Batch 2020, wearing pink face masks to their graduation served as a form of “subtle protest.” 

“When our graduation was planned for June 30, there was no question for me about what colors I would be wearing for a subtle protest,” Cabero said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Pink is largely attributed to former vice president Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo during her presidential bid in the 2022 elections.

While originally just bringing some for her friends, Cabero ended up buying more than 300 pink face masks to give away to her fellow batchmates.

“Originally, I thought about just giving face masks to my friends and acquaintances, but then I was thinking, ‘Ang angas siguro if may sea of pink kahit papaano sa June 30?’ she said. “I ended up buying 300 plus face masks and gave them away to anyone that wanted to wear them.”

For Batch 2021 valedictorian and advertising arts major Paolo Cortez, the wearing of pink face masks, though unplanned, was a symbolic statement on their graduation day.

“‘Di talaga siya planado at ‘di pinag-usapan pero around 70 percent nagpalit ng masks and I can say that it was still a batch effort and meron talagang statement ‘yun,” Cortez told the Varsitarian.

He asked permission from Cabero if he could mention her “pink gesture” in his thanksgiving address in relation to the results of the 2022 elections.

“Gusto nating ipakita na hindi pa tapos ang laban at nagsisimula pa lang kung tutuusin,” he said. “Talagang it is our responsibility to influence each other, to give hope to each other na kaya pa ‘to.”

‘Art is political’

As fine arts majors, Cabero and Cortez are both familiar with the longstanding debate about whether art and artists should be involved in politics.

“Art has always been political. Sa art history, art movements were made or birthed to address the current situation of the society,” Cortez said.

“Using our art to make statements about our country’s ills and bringing attention to what’s happening really helps even if you think it doesn’t,” Cabero said. 

Even as the Marcoses return to Malacañang, 36 years after the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was ousted and brought an end to his abusive Martial Law era, art must continue to stand up for truth and justice.

“Don’t stop making statements with your art dahil lang naka-upo na,” said Cabero. “Wag kayo matakot, hindi tayo nag-iisa.”

“I call my fellow artists to use our talents and skills for a greater purpose na ipaglaban ang katotohanan, ang hustisya. Magbigay lang [tayo] ng hope sa ibang tao with the works that we do,” Cortez said. Judd Ericka Marie F. Crescini and Faith Nicole S. Gelacio


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