Wednesday, February 26, 2014


ALAGANG TANDANG - soft pastel on black Strathmore, 18x12
Art imitates life and every painting tells a story. It conveys a narrative - any event that happened in time or in a dream — in just one, static image.

In between success, controversies and tragedies, we find comfort in any work of art --- whether it reminds us of a happy memory or a defining moment wherein we surfaced with a braver heart and a soothed soul.

Over the last few years, the works of Lovella “Dadai” Joaquin, Davao-based mother and homemaker, has captured the hearts and attention of many. Self-taught and sustained by passion, her talent in art became a means of communicating life as she sees it. She is someone who we can call a modern and female version of Fernando Amorsolo.

BREAKTHROUGH - acrylic on canvas, 30x24
Several notable individuals in the society see Dadai's works as depictions of the simplicity of life sans the comforts of technology and luxury. Quoting Mr. Noel Saavedra, a busy Manila-based consultant for special projects for the Dr A.B. Moñozca Foundation and Parmon Group and a part-time project manager at IBM, “Dadai’s pieces are a refreshing reminder of how we can still be happy in spite of the mediocrity around us.”

How do artists create a story that provides a message or provokes emotions in that single frame?

“I’m an impressionist and am fascinated with portraying the beauty around me through my own eyes --- my experiences, my emotions, etc.,” explains Dadai. “I like painting landscapes and real-life scenes, especially people. I don’t really do social commentary. I prefer to portray feelings, emotions, and beauty.”

BUNOT - soft pastel on black Strathmore, 12x18
“I don’t wait for inspiration to strike before I paint. Light is what inspires me; how it strikes an object, how an object comes to life with it. I see art even in junk.”

Before she set her hands on the paint brush, she used to work as an event organizer and a Public Relations practitioner.

SUNFLOWERS - acrylic on canvas, 30x24
“I’ve been painting since I was a child but never had good material. Then I met some Lumad artists who painted with soil, and it made me realize that I can paint with any medium. I started painting with soil and got featured in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I was invited to a group show in 2002 and that started my career as a painter. I moved on to other media after that.”

“I paint because it’s what I love to do, and it’s something I believe I am good at. I also love teaching art to children.”

NUDE WITH FERNS - soil on canvas, 4x6
“Like any other artist, I’ve developed and grown in my style. You can see it in my body of work. I’ve also added other media to my arsenal. Now, I work with acrylic, water color, pastel, oil, pen and ink, and even soil.”

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

“You may be surprised that the hardest part is not ‘getting inspired’ or waiting for the ‘canvas to speak to me’ or any other cliché’s like that. For me, the hardest part is simply preparing canvas. Stretching a canvas takes a lot of work. The painting part itself is the most fun and exciting.”

“Discipline is integral to my work. Like I said, I don’t wait for inspiration. If you’re a working artist, it’s something you do every day. I was inspired by the artist Malang who told me that he would wake up every day at 4 am to paint. It’s a discipline. Then he would have his daily devotions and talk to people.”

TANDANG NI TATANG - soft pastel on black Strathmore, 18x12
"I discipline myself to work daily. I consider it work and not a hobby, so I don’t wait for inspiration. I work at home, specifically in our kitchen. We live in a small apartment and I have to make do with what space is available. I literally paint where our lives move around as a family. My husband Jon works just a few feet away from me. Our daughter Laya comes in every once in a while to ask for something. Meal preparation often gets suspended because there is no space to move.”

What’s next for Dadai Joaquin?

“My dream project would probably be sculpting. It would be a difficult art form for me because I have arthritis.”

For someone who has discovered and grown through different media with no formal training, I’m sure nothing is impossible.

Visit to view more of Dadai Joaquin’s works.
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A1, INdulge section, Edge Davao, Vol. 6 Issue 244, 26 February 2014.


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