Rosario “Charito” Bitanga-Peralta, a graduate of UST’s fine arts program and a trailblazer in Philippine abstract art, passed away at the age of 89 on May 14 due to complications from acute coronary issues.

Peralta’s death was confirmed to the Varsitarian by her son, Samuel.

“Rosario Bitanga-Peralta [was] a painter, printmaker, sculptor, and educator, whose works have had a global influence beyond Asia,” Samuel said. “She will live on in her art, and in the art and aspirations of those she inspired.”

In a Facebook post, the UST Atelier Alumni Association, Inc. praised Peralta’s artistic contributions, describing her works as “exemplary” and “outstanding.”

“Charito, as she is fondly called in the community, is a multi-awarded artist, a pioneering woman abstractionist in the country, an educator, and a cultural advocate. Her contributions to the art scene are exemplary and outstanding. She is a forever inspiration to all of us,” the post read.

Peralta studied painting at the now-defunct UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts (CAFA) in the 1950s, where she was mentored by some of the Philippines’s most renowned artists, including Vicente Manansala, Diosdado Lorenzo, Galo Ocampo, Francesco Monti, Antonio Llamas, Manuel Rodriguez Sr., and Victorio Edades.

In 2004, Peralta became only the second UST alumnus in the field of arts and visual arts to receive The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award, which is UST’s highest honor for alumni.

Bitanga-Peralta made significant contributions to the UST art scene.

She served as a sculpture consultant at UST and dean at the Institute of Fine Arts and Design at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU). She was also the director of the PWU museum and gallery.

She pursued abstract painting after graduating from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, USA.

Peralta’s “Coda” became the first documented public exhibition of an abstract painting by a female artist in Manila in 1961, a year after she received the Art Association of the Philippines Award for sculpture.

Her works are displayed in museums and prominent public and private collections in the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, the Vatican, Italy, Canada, and the United States.

Peralta received numerous accolades, including being listed in the World Who’s Who of Women by the International Biographical Centre in Cambridge, England in 1991, and Artists and Masters of the 20th Century published by Les Editions Arts et Images du Monde, Paris, France, in 1994.

She is survived by her husband Jesus Peralta, a former National Museum director and Parangal Hagbong awardee of the Varsitarian, along with their sons Samuel, an Emmy-winning producer, Francis Paul, and Patrick Ian.

Peralta’s wake is scheduled for May 16 to 19.Her remains will be cremated on May 19 at 11 a.m. at the La Storta Chapel of the Loyola Memorial Chapels and Crematorium in Sucat, Parañaque.


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