By Charissa Luci-Atienza
For Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, having artworks in the grounds of Batasang Pambansa Complex is important, believing that it is part of the nation’s soul and heart.
The first woman Speaker led yesterday the signing of the deed of donation and unveiling of the “No. 1” sculpture by world-renowned Filipino international visual artist and sculptor Joe Datuin.
The “No. 1” sculpture is located at the Rotunda Garden, in front of the Legislative Library, Archives and Museum Building of the House of Representatives.
"A country has to have soul and heart. That’s part of our soul and heart, having artworks in the grounds,” Arroyo told the reporters after the witnessing the signing of a deed of donation and the unveiling of Datuin’s sculpture.
During the activity, Datuin asked Congress’ support to promote Filipino artists’ artworks.
“We need the support of the Congress to showcase the Filipino artistry in the international scene,” he told Arroyo.
The 63-year old Datuin, who won the Grand Prize in the International Sport and Art Context during the 2008 Beijing Olympics for his “Dancing Rings”, showed Arroyo all his artworks displayed at the South Wing of the House of Representatives.
He first showed “Ang Bagong Bayani," an envisioned monumental work that pays homage to the country’s Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and international migrant workers for their enormous contribution to nation building.
Depicting a dove about to take a flight, the work symbolizes the loyalty, hope and heroism of OFWs, Datuin said.
The 2018 steel sculpture is envisaged to serve as a contemporary landmark for Manila, similar to Singapore’s Merlion or the United States’ Statue of Liberty.
“Ang Bagong Bayani depicts the greatness of our OFWs and to make it more universal, we include the international migrant workers,” Datuin told Arroyo during their conversation.
Datuin, a Fine Arts graduate from the University of Santo Tomas, participated in several international art exhibits and competitions.
In 1980, he won the special award at the Moscow Olympic Games International Poster Design Competition, and two years after, he bagged the Gold Medal at the UNESCO International Calendar Design Competition in France.
Some of Datuin’s well-known sculpture series are Ballerina, Dance of the Rings, and Bosom.
Datuin was born on May 7, 1956, in Dagupan City.