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100 nudes so little time!

Yesterday was a blustery day with Typhoon Frank coming to town (In fact he blew through Manila at around 4 AM the next day). It was also the centennial alumni bash of the University of the Philippines at the Araneta Coliseum. After the usual awards had been given to outstanding alums, we decided to go to the 100 nudes/100 years exhibit sponsored by the UP Alumni Association. All the nudes exhibited were made by UP alums and students. These included works by National Artists Amorsolo, Tolentino, Francisco, Abueva, Manansala, Legaspi, Joya, Bencab and Imao.

The exhibit organizers said that there was an enthusiastic reception of the exhibit from UP alums and students. The artists contributed 116 nudes to the exhibit. Of course the nude theme was inspired by the UP Oblation, the icon for everything the university stands for; academic freedom, nonconformity, daringness and of course, the willingness to sacrifice for noble causes.

The nudes drive home things we have missed out so often. 1) The beauty of the human body, male and female, 2) That in the nude lies the truth about relationships between people and the Divine.

I couldn't make a decision what nude was the best, but having 100 nudes to look when an approaching storm means one has to choose quick. So I choose all the nudes!

One nude shoots down our preoccupations in making our bodies young and sexy using all means, botox or otherwise. There is this nude of a middle aged woman, sagging breasts, wrinkled face and all which I found beautiful, as beautiful as the nude of a maiden beside it. This just shows that the inner beauty of a human being is made clearer in the nude. A mere painting cannot capture all that beauty, only the real person can.

In a particular way, the nudes (exhibited for secular appreciation) reminds me of the several talks on John Paul II's Theology of the Body I had attended. According to John Paul II, the nude expresses the basic truth of God's creation of man and woman. Well I think it makes sense. Everyone comes into the world nude and at the end will meet the Creator nude. The Sistine Chapel frescoes make that very clear.

And the truth is....

Whoever has seen a nude has seen God! (This will shake up Catholic prudes!)

100 Nudes/100 Years runs until June 25,2008 at the Mandarin Suites, Gateway, Araneta Center, Cubao


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