The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (formerly Central Bank of the Philippines) has collected paintings. The first accessions of major works by contemporary artists were made in 1971. In the 1980s, the scope of the collection was expanded “to the origins of Philippine paintings,” resulting, in the words of art critic Emmanuel S. Torres, “in the most encyclopedic public collection of visual arts.”
In the course of this mindful collecting and conserving of Philippine visual arts, paintings by mentors and students from the University of Santo Tomas joined the inventory of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Art Collection. The UST school of fine arts, which used to be part of the UST architecture school, is the cradle of modern art in the Philippines. Its first director was Victorio C. Edades, who led the 13 Moderns and carried out a polemical debate with the classical school of art represented by Guillermo Tolentino of the rival University of the Philippines school of fine arts.
Through time, UST teachers and pupils have achieved admirably in their chosen art forms, and three of them, notably, have been conferred the rank of National Artist: Edades, J. Elizalde Navarro and Ang Kiukok. Many other Thomasians have become leading lights in the field of visual arts, such as Roberto Chabet, Cesar Zalameda, Angelito Antonio, Mario Parial, Normal Belleza, Danilo Dalena, Julie Lluch, Raul Isidro, Charito Bitanga, Fil Delacruz, Ed Castrillo, Ramon Orlina, Virginia Ty and José Tence Ruiz.
Selected works from some of these Thomasian artists are on view in “UST sa BSP,” an exhibition organized and realized as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s gesture of partaking in the celebration of the quadricentennial of the University of Santo Tomas this year.
“UST sa BSP: Selections from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas of Thomasian Alumni Artists,” runs until Sept. 30 at the Catwalk, second level. For details, call 5230613 or 5237855, or e-mail email@example.com.
The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Museum hours are from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday to Saturday; closed on Sunday, first Monday of the month and on holidays.