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DRAGON DANCE: Golden Harvest

DRAGON DANCE: Golden Harvest

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Mixed Media


48" Diameter



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Two years after the pandemic, Joe resurfaces his creative dragons from a long hiatus in Pinyin, a translation of the artist’s unique affinity with the Chinese Dragon, both an ally and muse. The Dragon has called Joe on many occasions, and every time, it has brought the artist immense fortune, such as winning Grand Prize in the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Art Contest during the Beijing Olympics of 2018, with his sculpture “Dancing Rings”, an interpretation of the mighty Chinese Dragon. 

In Pinyin, Joe relieves moments from his Olympic success, by creating a series of paintings and stainless steel sculptures that expresses a unique affinity with this cultural icon and tradition. Interpreting the Chinese Dragon in dance, twelve paintings in round and edged canvases and a mix of eight sculptures   bring the icon to life in its various iterations. Together, they form a festival of fiery colors typically found in traditional dragon dances – green for a good harvest, yellow for reverence, gold or silver for prosperity, and red for excitement and good fortune. 

Pinyin is a significant come-back exhibition for the artist for achieving two milestones – first, it being an innovation of Joe’s 2020 Ayala Museum exhibit piece “Pinyin”, as it combines his signature geometric abstraction style with his Fusion technique on canvas (binding metal on canvas); and secondly, for introducing two dragon stainless steel sculptures depicting dragons in pursuit of the “Pearl of Wisdom”.  

Other unique features of the exhibit are Joe’s use of a metallic palette and the fusion of shiny, reflective metallic pieces on canvas that complements Asian beliefs of good luck; and the deliberate use of a museum canvas wrap instead of framing to “unleash” the dragon from the canvas. 

Through Pinyin, the artist not only shares a personal relationship with this cultural icon that has brought him great renown, but also, imparts a sense of wonder and awe to his audiences. The exhibit launches with a special dragon dance performance on Sunday, November 12, at 6PM at Nami Art Gallery, SMDC Fame Mall Mayflower St., EDSA, Mandaluyong. 

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Joe Datuin

Joe Datuin

From his early years, Joe Datuin displayed a deep fascination with art. As a child, he would observe his uncles passionately crafting signage for cinema announcements, which served as a powerful inspiration for his own journey in the visual arts. Leaving Pangasinan behind, he ventured to Manila to pursue a Fine Arts program at the University of Sto. Tomas.

During his time at UST, he had the privilege of being instructed by esteemed modernist mentors such as Bonifacio Cristobal, Leon Pacunayen, and Leonardo Hidalgo. As a student, Joe's artistic talent shone brightly, earning him numerous awards in various arts competitions. Notably, he was bestowed with the prestigious Benavides Award in 1977, an honor reserved for the finest graduating students at UST. The following year, he secured the sculpture award at the annual art contest hosted by the Art Association of the Philippines.

After completing his studies, Joe continued his artistic journey by working at the Design Center Philippines, where he received guidance from some of the most accomplished artists of his time. In addition to his daytime commitments, he dedicated his evenings to teaching aspiring artists at UST.

Throughout his lifetime, Joe Datuin gained recognition for his remarkable ability to employ subtly visualized symbolism using stainless steel as his primary medium. His art, characterized by circular abstractions that embody both material and formal unity, always provokes contemplation. Joe firmly believes in the power of simplicity to create exceptional art, avoiding overwhelming viewers with excessive stimuli. This approach contributes to the universal appeal of his artworks.

In 1980, Joe attained a special award at the Moscow Olympic Games International Poster Design Competition. In the 1990s, his artistic trajectory soared further when he completed an artist residency program at the Vermont Studio in New York, courtesy of the Freeman Asian Scholarship.

In 2008, he achieved the Grand Prize in the Sculpture Category of the International Olympic Committee Sport and Art Contest. His creation, which deconstructed the Olympic rings while showcasing elegance, motion, and symmetry through steel, captivated attention. Joe masterfully captured the essence of the Olympics by incorporating movement into his sculpture, presenting a unique form that outshone entries from 34 other countries.

Joe Datuin's artistic prowess has allowed him to exhibit his creations across the globe. Notably, his environmental abstract works were showcased in New York in 2005. In 2008, he presented an exhibition titled "Dance of the Rings," highlighting the Olympic Spirit for which he was already renowned.

In 2015, his exhibition titled "Metal Abstractions" at the Podium Mall unveiled an entirely new creative direction he intended to explore.

Undoubtedly, Joe Datuin is an artist unafraid of taking risks, particularly in his innovative use of metals. Despite pushing the boundaries of artistic expression, his creations remain grounded in simplicity, making them universally appreciated. The art world eagerly awaits the unveiling of more extraordinary works from Joe Datuin, as he continues to satisfy our yearning for his artistic brilliance.

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