On March 12, 1941, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) sponsored the First National Art Competition, and an exhibition of all the 93 participating entries was mounted at the University Gymnasium. In the following years, the initiative of the First National Art Competition became the UST Annual Inter-School On-the-Spot Painting Competition (OTSPC). This has become one of the most anticipated campus activities participated in by Fine Arts students from Metro Manila and nearby areas.
In continuation of this legacy and in celebration of the Philippine Arts Month, the UST Museum held the 2020 UST Annual Inter-School On-the-Spot Painting Competition (OTSPC) on February 15, 2020 at the UST Benavides Garden.
This year’s UST Annual On-the-Spot Painting Competition (OTSPC) had for its theme: “Message for Peace.” According to UST Museum Director Rev. Fr. Isidro D. Abaňo, O.P., “Artists are visionaries, through their silent boundless reflections and imaginings they have natural tendencies toward what is good that they can express concretely in their works of art.”
Students from colleges and universities in and around Metro Manila competed in the oldest student art competition of its kind.
In first place was “Tawag ng Kapayapaan” by Chester Aaron E. Sia from the University of the Philippines (UP). Bagging second place was “It All Begins with Us” by Mark James S. Barbecho from Bulacan State University (BSU), and in third place was “Kailangan Daanan ang Digmaan Bago Magkaroon ng Kapayapaan” (“Go through war before achieving peace”) by Reynaldo Barredo, Jr., from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science (EARIST).
The Metrobank Choice Award was won by Ronneile S. Talavera from BSU for his untitled work.
“Look Around and You Will See” by Jemson B. Conje from EARIST, “Universal Language” by Jose Panatian, Jr., from UP, and “Faith and Harmony” by Rhichelle Kirk A. Tabanera from EARIST got the first to third honorable mentions.
The winning works were on exhibit at the UST Main Building lobby from February 15 to 29, 2020.
This 78-year-old national art competition has in its roster of winners those who have become renowned and respected artists that include the likes of Vicente Manansala, Ricarte Puruganan, Galo Ocampo and Arsenio Capili. Manansala, who taught in UST from 1951 to 1958, was declared National Artist for Painting in 1981. Ocampo also taught in UST, while Puruganan studied Fine Arts in UST and even taught in the same college. The four of them belonged to the group of select artists called “Thirteen Moderns.”
Some student winners in its more recent competitions are now celebrated names in the contemporary art scene, among them, Ronald Ventura, Mark Salvatus, Alfred Esquillo, and Raffy Napay.