David Datuna is a Smithsonian-recognized artist focused on the convergence of art and social consciousness.
Datuna’s signature technique is a network of positive and negative optical lenses suspended over a large-scale layered, collaged and painted image. The mixed media palette often includes photography, newspaper articles, magazine clippings, paint and color.
The prismatic surface both hides and reveals the work below, while the lenses symbolize individual identity, illusion, perception, fragmentation and unification. Portraits, flags and icons are recurring themes. Datuna’s artwork is a political, cultural and commercial commentary on our current collective consciousness.
In February 2014, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery featured Datuna's work, where a record-breaking 27,000 visitors waited for over two hours to view the exhibition.
Following his battle with cancer, Datuna established The Fund for Life, a philanthropic organization dedicated to fighting fatal diseases worldwide. In conjunction with the Fund, David also established the Life Award, which is given to corporations and individuals for exceptional contributions to the sustaining and saving of human lives.
David Datuna’s mixed media sculptures have received critical acclaim on three continents for over a decade, merging elements of conceptual and pop art, creating a thoughtful and visionary body of work celebrating cultural identity and freedom.
David has continued to press the boundaries of art in exploring how we perceive cultural identity as individuals, social groups, and even nations. He explores the meaning and sources of complex cultural identity through conceptual iconography based on portraits, flags and icons. Lying beneath the undulating surface of eyewear fused together to create a prismatic surface is a fragmented layer of collaged images and text harvested from political, cultural and social publications. Datuna's objects stand in witness to the history and powerful status of the celebrated emblems captured, distilled and subsequently reflected back to us for personal re-examination. His artwork pays tribute both to Jasper Johns's series of American flags and to the exploitation of the found object and collage tradition. Yet perhaps more powerfully, it imbues timeless images with new meanings by anchoring them both in the present and in their rich history.
For the artist, eyeglasses represent our diverse society with people of all different colors, sizes and shapes – each with their own positive and negative points of view. From a distance, the sculptures can be seen as a kaleidoscopic image that unifies the whole as a symbol; on closer inspection, the viewer can discern collaged books and newspapers headlines of political and social culture, along with pop culture images of celebrities, innovators and leaders that dared to be different.
David Datuna exhibits widely in the US, Europe and Asia, and is well represented in important private collections worldwide.