DELVING in a new exploration that teaches and communicates the value of arts to the public, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Museum features works from “adult coloring books” in a monthlong exhibit.
“Color More, Stress Less” seeks to emphasize the importance of colors and coloring in this stressful time. It runs until May 6 at UST Museum, España, Manila.
The show underscores the burgeoning interest in coloring books for adults, a recent phenomenon.
“To better convey our message to the public, we might as well use what is already available and understandable to the present audience,” museum director Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P. says. “Communication is two ways—giving and receiving. Now, many people are interested in coloring books because of its sudden popularity. So, if you do something like this exhibit, you are already a step closer to communicating with them.”
Displayed are works by the Coloring Book for Adult Philippines: Gilda Loja, Cathy Lasam-Ballo, Vermailene Barrios, Jacqueline Simpao-Callanta, Celeste Lecaroz-Aceron, Mike Torres, Red de Leon, Christian de Jesus, Ayn Descalsote, Ana Lourdes Aceron, Melissa Bautista-Paras and Bianca Paras.
Fr. Abaño, a colorist himself, says coloring affects one’s psyche and gives a restful experience that lessens stress.
This was expounded in two lecture-conferences held March 12 at the Civil Law Auditorium. UST Department of Psychology chair Ma. Claudette Agnes talked about the psychology of colors. (She is also chair of the Commission on Higher Education technical committee on psychology.)
Grace Brillantes-Evangelista, chair of the Psychological Association of the Philippines Clinical Division, lectured on “Embracing Well-Being through Arts.”
“Life today seems to be more complicated,” Fr. Abaño says. “They say technology is supposed to help us, but technology has in a way made life a little bit stressful. That is why, perhaps, many engage in this activity. The repetitive strokes of the hand while coloring offer a relaxing and calming effect. It is in a way hypnotic.”
Fr. Abaño says coloring has become a source of destressing for adults and other professionals.
Colors and cultures
Since time immemorial, people have considered colors to have a spectrum of cultural and religious symbolisms. Colors have affected peoples’ perspectives in their daily life.
“Look at the Buddhist sarong. It is orange because it exemplifies meditative awareness and spiritual enlightenment,” Fr. Abaño says.
He adds that golden yellow, the color of the Vatican and UST, epitomizes the brightness of divinity and is “meant for God.”
Bright colors may help hasten the recovery of the sick. Fr. Abaño says colors aid him in prayer.
“When I work on the image of the Virgin Mary, every time I place a dot, I pray for somebody. If the Rosary has beads to aid the devout, I consider the dots in the artwork in the same way,” he says.
“Whatever joyful experiences one attains from this simple activity can possibly be shared with others. I hope we can send this message to many,” Fr. Abaño says.