Last April 26, 2017, the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS) held the second installation of Banyuhay: Bagong Anyo, Bagong Buhay, a performance night, at the Thomas Aquinas Research Center Auditorium. The performance night featured the works of the National Artist for Literature recipients and emerging avant-garde writers.
In the face of the debacles confronting our country today, especially the negligence of literature and as well as the dregs of poverty, CCWLS Director Prof. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, PhD said art is needed: ”It is an important part of the role of the artist to hear, to witness, to record and to remember.”
Hidalgo also recalled that a meeting with the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino chair and National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario made possible of their own celebration in the University such as USTingan, and Brushes With Words. Proclamation No. 968 states that National Literature Month shall be celebrated every year and on the month of April, and the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) were designated to spearhead activities and events in line with the said proclamation.
CCWLS senior visiting fellow Assoc. Prof. Bernardo Bernardo, a veteran stage and film actor, director, and playwright himself, directed the performances. Also, part of the performance night was a musical direction provided by Conservatory of Music Dean Antonio P. Africa and production design by Interior Design faculty member Asst. Prof. Rodolfo S. Olaso.
“Brushes with Words and Chords” is one of the UST CCWLS’s oldest existing programs and dates from the time of its founding director, Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta, PhD. It is a collaborative production among the CCWLS, the Miguel de Benavides Library, the UST Publishing House, the Faculty of Arts and Letters, the Conservatory of Music, the College of Fine Arts and Design, and the UST Graduate School; it consists of literary readings and musical performances featuring UST officials, faculty members, alumni and students, as well as exhibits featuring Thomasian artists and affiliates.
National Artists featured in the event include Virgilio S. Almario, Francisco Arcellana, Cirilo F. Bautista, Levi Celerio, Ernani J. Cuenco, Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, Bienvenido L. Lumbera, Edith L. Tiempo, Rolando S. Tinio, and Jose Garcia Villa.