Arts & CulturePress Release

Works of renowned artists from the University of Santo Tomas featured at ‘The Distinguished 2023’

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Visitors stepped into the vibrant world of Philippine contemporary art at THE DISTINGUISHED 2023, which took place at ArtistSpace in Ayala Museum until November 21. The curated collection was a testament to the University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) rich legacy as the cradle of modern art.

Featuring 16 highly accomplished artists, each leaving an indelible mark on the Philippine art scene, THE DISTINGUISHED 2023 showcased a diverse array of artistic expressions. From abstract masterpieces to whimsical sculptures, the exhibit served as a living testament to the resilience, innovation, and lasting legacy of UST alumni artists.

Among these celebrated artists was the late Antonio Austria, whose urban folk genre celebrated Filipino urban life with rich and vibrant colors. Also included was the late Justin Nuyda, who was part of the first batch of CCP Thirteen Artist Awardees and left a legacy of highly sophisticated abstract works of compelling intelligence.


Pioneering woman-abstractionist Rosario Bitanga and the late Nene Saguil collectively shaped the landscape of Philippine abstraction with their groundbreaking contributions.

Remy Boquiren’s romantic folk genre transported viewers into a world of mystic glow while Richard Buxani captivated the audience with his sculptures that embodied whimsy and wit.

Second-generation modern sculptor Jose “Joe” Dautin, CCP Thirteen Artist Awardee Fil Delacruz, and versatile artist Edgar Doctor showcased their mastery across various mediums in metal sculpture, printmaking, painting, and ceramics.  

The exhibit extended to showcase the muralist tradition continued by Derrick Macutay, the folk romanticism of Nemesio Miranda (Nemiranda), and the abstract works of Raul Isidro, emphasizing the elemental power of minerals and natural forces.  

Willy Layug, a successful representative of the religious wood-carving tradition, reflected modernist assays of liturgical art, seamlessly fusing tradition and modernity. India Dela Cruz from Aklan represented regional art with paintings utilizing Chinese art techniques on piña seda.

Anita del Rosario’s jewelry designs and metal sculptures exhibited feminine grace with bold and masterful use of materials while Jose Tence Ruiz, the first Filipino to exhibit at the Venice Biennale since 1964, personified the multiplicity of mediums and expressions in contemporary art.

In his new works, visual artist and photographer Jose “Pinggot” Zulueta merged social realism with the evocations of existential anxieties in his recent paintings, showcasing a more personal and confessional approach.

The exhibit was organized by Marissa Pe-Yang, the UST Atelier Alumni Association Inc. president. She expressed that the primary inspiration for the event stemmed from her favorite personal quote, “aspire to inspire.” She believed that each exhibitor served as a source of inspiration within the community, resonating with the hearts of those who experienced their art. The opening and ribbon-cutting ceremonies were graced by distinguished guests of honor, including Atty. Dwight Ramos, president of the UST Alumni Association Inc., and Angie Tuazon of the Thomasian Alumni Leaders Association. The exhibit was curated by Ayni Nuyda and Abe Orobia, with poster designs crafted by Elmer Dumlao.

THE DISTINGUISHED 2023 ran until November 21 at ArtistSpace in Ayala Museum. 

For more information, visit here.

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