Sunday, October 24, 2021

A wandering artist

AT LEAST 50 pieces of artworks done by the skillful hands of Jose Alovera Dureza—an architect, urban planner, teacher and visual artist—are now on display at an exhibit dubbed Wanderings 2 at The Negros Museum from October 1 to 31.

With watercolor as his medium (a difficult one, actually) each piece is lovingly done and reflects the peaceful, intelligent, and sensitive soul of the artist.

It has been 10 years since his first Wanderings exhibit at the Philippine Center in New York City. With 24 years of his life spent living and working abroad, the richness of this life and his journeys around the Philippines collaborated in producing finely done portraits, floral themes, still life, local scenes (by the sea, at the market, in the farm, the countryside), winterscapes, and quaint European scenes in delicate pastels or bold russets.

The versatility and superb touch of our artist was honed by decades and decades of practice. He started painting in transparent watercolors since he was a student at the Iloilo School of Arts and Trades, and at the University of San Agustin.

In 1975, Tito Joe joined the Arts Association of Bacolod (AAB) which had famed pioneer artists such as Jess Ayco, Rafael Paderna, Rodney Martinez, Ely Santiago, and Budot Lizares, and Joya, David, Cosio, Doctor, et al. who are the Manila artists who helped organize the AAB. He had solo exhibits in Kalibo (Aklan), University of San Agustin, Holiday Inn Galleries of Fine Arts (Manila), Panasonic Hall in Secaucus (New York), John Maigher Gallery (Jersey City, New Jersey); he has joined group shows in Bacolod, Manila, Makati, Mississippi, Yemen, Washington D.C., among other venues.

His name is firmly established in the United States and stamped this reputation through publication in Transparent Colors, (XLibris, c. 2010 by Teresa Rodriguez, 142 pages) dedicated to three outstanding Fil-Am watercolorists in the US East Coast.

Mr. Dureza also organized and co-founded with Manuel Rodriguez, Sr. and Angelito David the Society of Philippine-American Artists, Inc. (SPAAI) based in New York City, now on its 20th year.

Many important honors and awards were bestowed on him including the 1978 Ang Banwahanon Award (Outstanding Citizen) by the City of Bacolod; election to the College of Fellows, United Architects of the Philippines in 1983; Fulbright-Hays Fellow for Urban Planning by the US Department of State for 1976-1977; Technical Training Award by the Rotary Foundation in Evanston, Illinois in 1973-1974; and the Artist of the Year Award by the Hudson Artists, Inc., in Jersey City, New Jersey in 2001.

My favorite is the 1982 Travel Grant (UAFE '82) by the Ministry of Planning and Housing, Republic of France because being a speaker of the French language, this became our common bond as members of the L’Association des Amities Franco-Philippine.

With his loving and lovely wife Tita Mahal, both retired from their New York City careers and settled in a fishing village in New Washington, Aklan. The artist’s soul always finds peace and solace anywhere in the world but his nationality will always seek its roots.

The Domus Dei, a home for retired priests, is beneficiary of Wanderings 2.*

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