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Artist Profile: Meet Visual Artist & Sculptor, Daniella Mooney

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Mooney draws inspiration from her interactions with the natural environment, such as hiking trails in-and-around the Western Cape. 

Working predominantly in sculpture and installation, Daniella Mooney manages to effortlessly combine the monumental with the ephemeral, the natural with the mystical. 

Born in Nelspruit, South Africa, she currently lives and works in Cape Town. 

Although she majored in sculpture for her Bachelor’s Degree, Mooney has ventured into producing paintings and installation works after completing a BFA at Michaelis School of Fine Art from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. 

And so be it.

According to the Zeitz MOCCA: “Her sculptural works reflect the processes of using wood and stone to ground a deeper understanding of her connection to nature and its cyclical rhythms. This is then further explored in various forms of celebration, movement as well as expressions of both community and self-identity.” 

Inspiration and influences 

In terms of her landscape paintings, Mooney draws inspiration from her interactions with the natural environment, such as hiking trails in-and-around the Western Cape, South Africa. 

Fools Gold.

In terms of her influences, Mooney lists three artists whose process she particularly respects and admires.  

The first is Jackson Hlungwani (1923 – 2010) who was a South African sculptor and priest whose personal spiritual philosophies and beliefs were deeply embedded in the wooden carvings and installations he created.  

His works were an expression of his private spiritual world where they were used not only as functional objects but also meant to represent the spirit of his community.  

Seven Sermons to the Dead: Detail III

The second is Japanese American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi, for his large-scale stone sculptures and impressive public works.  

And then there is African American graphic artist and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett (1915 – 2012) who she deeply admires for her commitment to social justice and themes concerning the human condition, specifically strong maternal figures.  

Her life as an activist and her work, so dedicated to liberation, were one and the same. 

Taking Platteklip: Oil on canvas.

Exhibitions 

Mooney’s solo exhibitions include: Golden Age Rising at WHATIFTHEWORLD (Cape Town: 2014); Maybe Your Magic is Workin at WHATIFTHEWORLD (Cape Town: 2011) and A Rainbow in Curved Air, Michaelis Graduate Exhibition (Cape Town, South Africa: 2009).  

Notable group exhibitions include: Calibrating Wonder at SMITH Studio (Cape Town: 2017); Design Miami/Basel with Southern Guild, (Miami, United States of America: 2016); Design Miami/Basel with Southern Guild (Basel, Switzerland: 2015); I take it all Bac’, at the Nirox Project Space (Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg, South Africa: 2014) and Bazaar II: A Group Show at Fairweather House (Cape Town, South Africa: 2013). 

See more of her works here. 

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