Datuna: Portrait of America
Directed by: Brian Bayerl
In this remarkable documentary, we are introduced into the life of David Datuna, a Georgia-born artist who creates very distinctive pieces on national identity. Whilst following Datuna’s journey, we learn a lot about his background and past experiences that make him who he is today. Through innovative practices such as being the first contemporary artist to combine wearable technology into his work, and using different mediums in his creativity, he became a key figure in the industry, being compared to artists such as Andy Warhol. Much of the film revolves around his piece ‘Portrait of America’, which debuted at the National Portrait Gallery on President’s day. During this time, we see how passionate and dedicated Datuna is to his work, even when he gets diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer; he continues working in the studio day in, day out, with his team who know nothing of his personal situation. The documentary also places emphasis on how hard to crack the arts industry is, as well as how much every piece of art means to its creator – it’s takeaway message: no matter what happens, never give up on your aspirations.