AN INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed Thomasian artist fused paintings and sculptures in his comeback solo exhibition, “Pinyin,” which opened on Nov. 12 at the Nami Art Gallery in Mandaluyong.

Fine arts alumnus Jose “Joe” Datuin featured pieces recalling his masterpiece, “Dancing Rings,” a Chinese dragon-inspired stainless steel sculpture that won first prize at the 2008 International Olympics Sport and Art Competition.

“It’s a combination of my win in the Olympics [art competition] and the festivities that the ‘dragon’ brings to my work, [whether through] international [or] national exposure,” Datuin told the Varsitarian

The exhibit’s name was inspired by Datuin’s abstract piece, “Pinyin,” a fusion of paint and metal on canvas that he put on exhibit at the Ayala Museum in 2020.

Among Datuin’s featured works was his “Pearl of Wisdom” series, which depicts Chinese dragons chasing after a precious jewel.

“Dragon Dance: Pearl of Wisdom Chaser 1” is a 24x10x10-in. stainless steel sculpture featuring five steel rings fashioned into an S-shape, meant to represent the dragon, and a steel sphere meant to represent the pearl. 

Joe Datuin’s ‘Dragon Dance: Pearl of Wisdom Chaser 1.’ (Photo by Valere Jane R. Callorena/ The Varsitarian.)

“Dragon Dance: Pearl of Wisdom Chase 2” is a 24x11x6.5-in. stainless steel sculpture that depicts a dragon and a pearl through five interlocking rings and a metal sphere suspended in the air.

Joe Datuin (right) with his ‘Dragon Dance: Pearl of Wisdom Chaser 2.’ (Photo by Valere Jane R. Callorena/ The Varsitarian)

The fine arts alumnus also put on exhibit his “Mother and Child Fusion Series,” a pair of his signature stainless steel sculptures made with three rings and two spheres of varying thickness and size.

Datuin said he continued to use stainless steel in his works because it is what made him distinguishable. 

“There is innovation in every painting and sculpture you see now,” he said. “I still use steel because that’s how I became known. That’s how I became famous; because of having an extraordinary style that I can proudly say is mine.”

The fine arts alumnus’s series of paintings, “Dragon Dance,” was also on exhibit at “Pinyin.”

Each of the 11 paintings had high-saturation metallic colors typically seen in traditional dragon dances, like green, yellow, gold, silver, and red, while incorporating his iconic stainless steel style through the metallic spheres embedded on each canvas. 

Datuin said he chose the Chinese dragon as the muse of his works because of its affinity with luck and the inspiration it brought to him. 

“The dragon is a big inspiration to me, not only because my life improved, [but because] it gives a sort of inspiration to every person,” he said. “It breathes out a certain inspiration you cannot find in horoscopes or zodiac signs.”

For young artists who are still in search of their artistic inspiration, Datuin said they must keep on working. 

“Whatever they may like or are inspired by…harness it, cultivate it, find a way, and innovate,” he said. 

Datuin’s “Pinyin” exhibit will run until Nov. 30.


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