Sculptor Daniel dela Cruz illuminates the light within through pieces that recognize the strength present in overcoming personal struggles, as well as the hope that comes after.
This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s November 2023 Issue.
Daniel dela Cruz is an accomplished sculptor. He has had a total of 24 solo exhibits in the Philippines and three solo shows and 19 group shows internationally. He started sculpting and playing with clay when he was in kindergarten. From molding clay to shaping intricate forms with found objects, his love for sculpture is animated by the yearnings of philosophy, which he studied at the University of the Philippines on the behest of his father who wanted him to be a doctor or a lawyer.
Coming from a family of doctors, his devotion to sculpture remained unwavering and instead of pursuing law, he decided to strike it out on his own in the world. He never had any formal training in sculpting. He got lucky after college where the first job he landed was as a factory sculptor in an export and handicraft company. He was one of many sculptors in the factory and he learned a lot from the more senior sculptors there. His job as a factory worker in the export company led him into a career of becoming a product designer. This allowed him to work with materials not just locally but other countries, giving him familiarity with using media from shells and resin to paper and ceramics… and many more.
He started with many different materials in the beginning, but when he decided, at the age of 40, to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a visual artist- specifically a sculptor, he chose to work with metal, a material he found to be the most challenging but he also loved the fact that metal allowed him to make artworks that will stand the test of time and basically long past his lifetime. That pivotal moment in 2007 triggered him to finally embark on artistic endeavors. Mentored for his first show by National Artist Arturo Luz and Lor Calma, he debuted as an artist with his first solo exhibition entitled Kandungan—an ode to the feminine form and motherhood.
He focuses mainly on metal but he has combined it in the past with resin. He has dabbled with concrete as well and also makes candle sculptures. At the moment, he is adding wood sculptures to combine with metal for a show he is preparing for next year.
Almost all his exhibits come from personal experiences in his life, but this 24th solo exhibition is his most personal to date.
The artist says Beyond the Scars is really all about the trials we go through and how we learn to endure them. This started with all the challenges the pandemic brought and how it affected my life then was followed by a very personal challenge with my family and in June 2022, I got into a major motorcycle accident where I broke almost my whole neck and was almost a quadriplegic. Thanks to God, He saved me from that fate, but my neck now is mainly held up by titanium… so you could say that I have been going through storms, battles and have been receiving scars the past few years. This show is my way of releasing all my emotions and my attempt at trying to still keep a positive outlook in life despite all the trials.”
Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia November 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.
Photos courtesy of Daniel dela Cruz and Art Cube Gallery.