Danielle Mate Sullivan's artwork belongs in the private collection of President Barack Obama and als
Daniel Mate Sullivan's Exhibition launch will be opened by Andrew Frost, Art Critic, Writer, Broadcaster & Lecturer at Art Atrium 4th September.
Deb decided to get in contact with Danielle and do an interview.
A lovely lady with a great story and talent!
Tell us about your Aboriginal Heritage?
My Aboriginal heritage is on my mother’s side. My mother was born in Brewarrina and both my grandparents are Aboriginal. My grandmother is a Kunja women born in Cunnamulla.
I obviously am proud of my Aboriginal heritage but would also like to learn more.
As a young person I felt like a minority and struggled a little bit with how to identify, this is certainly changing as I get older.
What inspired you to start painting?
I would say my brother was certainly an influence on my creativity. I remember him drawing in felt pen as we drove long distances to support his motorbike racing.
I was envious of how he could draw.
In early high school I distinctly remember purchasing a postcard at the NSW Art gallery, which had body painting image on it. Many years later came across the works of (the late) Emily Kngwarreye, which I was drawn to. I then realised the postcard was also her work. She moves me, I get emotional just thinking about her works and her ability. Still to this day she inspires me to paint, for many reasons.
What was life like for you as a child?
Pretty normal, I went to a public school in a small town, Camden. With a much older brother and sister I was went through schooling without siblings.
I discovered my genuine love of art in high school. I had great parents who supported me in my creative endeavours and I thank them for that today. I also thank my parents for the experience of growing up as a foster family. My mum and dad took children into our home, children from all different backgrounds. This taught me so much and is probably the reason I enjoy working with young people now doing art workshops and sharing my skills.
I did cop a bit of racial bullying at school. I hated it and always tried to go under the radar in some sense. It wasn’t until later on in High School when I felt more confident in who I was, that I embraced my Aboriginality a little more. I was fortunate to always have a supportive group of friends which really helped.
How long does it take to create a painting?
Works vary pending what style I am painting in.
My landscape works are very expressive and I work while paint is wet, so different layers can mix. This style is much quicker to paint as opposed to my animal works. These have very fine detail and lots of layers that need to dry in between. So anywhere from a day to a few weeks.
What is your favourite piece of artwork that you have created?
That is a tricky question. I think my ‘favourite’ changes consistently, but for now it would be Sir Peter, Zarney and Landscape Love. These are all works in my current solo exhibition at Art Atrium throughout September.
A work that holds special memories is definitely the work I created for the very first Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize entry. The work was a landscape called Mother Earth which depicted my pregnant sister in the landscape. This was in fact my first landscape in this style ever and I was selected as a finalist in the exhibition. I was so proud and honoured, It was the start of something new for me.
Your work is in the private collection of some very high profile people? How does that make you feel?
It is and I am so thankful. I don’t know how to explain how I feel, It’s almost too amazing to believe.
I certainly have had the opportunity to be involved with, work with and meet some amazing people particularly my experience with the US Embassy in Canberra.
I look forward to expanding my work into the US following my solo exhibition. I also had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Europe with my art last year and I also look forward to broadening my works into the European market shortly. I am excited about the future for my work.
I do recognise that there is probably only a handful of people in the world who would have had these experiences in their life and I really am thankful.
I have to thank my husband Shane for this, he has consistently supported and encouraged me to follow my passion to paint. I would not be fulfilling my dreams if it wasn’t for him.
Does each one of your paintings tell a story like Traditional Aboriginal Art?
No my works are contemporary in that they don’t tell traditional stories. As a young person I had an experience with an elder of my local community who saw a work that I had created during an Aboriginal art workshop. The work was a mapping piece using traditional symbols to map where I lived, hills, trees, rivers etc. The elder was not happy about my use of symbolism, she frightened me to some degree and since this experience I choose not to use traditional symbolism in my work. I must say, I’m so grateful for this experience also, as I have gone on to develop my own distinct style. I also learnt to be informed, aware and respectful when I paint.
I do paint our beautiful country, I am inspired by colours, textures, natural patterns and animals.
What do you love about Sydney?
Our cultural diversity, our beautiful harbour and great restaurants.
2 - 27 September 2014
Exhibition launch with the Danielle will be be opened by
Art Critic, Writer, Broadcaster & Lecturer
Art Atrium 181 Old South Head Road Bondi Junction
Thursday 4 September 2014 6.00 - 8.00 pm
Full catalogue: www.artatrium.com.au.