Daniëlla is passionate about the Pacific, its vibrant colors, life and landscape. Her subjects explore her own Dutch culture and the adopted Samoan culture belonging to her husband.
Domestic scenery dominates her paintings; women and children in a variety of homely activities emphasize a relaxed and gentle intimacy that celebrates kinship and cultural relationships. This imagery extends beyond the personal and refers to subtle tensions within Pacific and European ties, expressing the rich, but sometimes, fraught relationship of dual heritage.
Daniëlla presents the viewer with dreamy tropical worlds in which time is suspended to capture a delicate personal moment with an otherwise impersonal figure, prompting questions about what we see and expect to see. Their simplified treatment into smooth tubular forms and cutout blocks of color recalls the cold hard rigidity of the modernist era and intensifies feelings of remoteness and something untouchable. Faces half hidden by thick dark hair, one eye looking out with apparent disinterest, through or beyond the viewer, like a statue on a pedestal. However her work breaks with a modern art lineage as she begins to question the ideal instead of pursuing it.
Brilliant tropical flowers and fabrics in their simple settings pay homage to a Pacific tradition but are rendered to an exaggerated almost kitsch resolution. With lipstick-red mouths and stiff limbs the figures appear doll-like, contained and carefully poised in their plasticized worlds, adding a touch of unease to the Pacific paradise. Daniëlla prompts the viewer to consider surface in terms of paint and cultural perception; the island escape, the island beauty.
Relaxing in the garden
Sunday market, vege stall
Tivaevae, Cook Island tradition
Fai fai lemu - taking it easy
Anyone for Kilikiti - Samoan beach cricket
Traditions passed down
Influences and infusion of Pacific culture around NZ, in particular the greater Wellington area can be dated back to around 1000AD.
Its believed, the first Pacific navigator to discover NZ was Kupe, who sailed from his tropical homeland of Hawaiki in his waka called Matahourua. It was said that Kupe’s wife “Kuramarotini” devised the name of Aotearoa (land of the long white cloud) on seeing the North Island for the first time.
Kupe is said to have sailed his waka along the rugged coastline exploring the uninhabited land, spending considerable time in and around the greater Wellington area and personally naming many spots along the way.
For example Mana Island (out from Porirua harbour) was named by Kupe “Te Mana-o-Kupe-ki-Aotearoa” to commemorate his successful crossing of the Pacific ocean.
Islands in Wellington are named after his daughters, Matiu (Somes Island) and Makaro (Ward Island).
One of the pointed rock formation of Barrett’s Reef located at the entrance to Wellington Harbour is called “Te Aroaro-o-Kupe”.
Pari-Whero; Red Rock Point, near Sinclair Head, where 2 traditions explaining the naming of this spot.
The first claims Kupe’s daughter caused the rocks to turn red when they began to cut themselves as a sign of mourning, believing Kupe to be dead.
The second, Kupe cut his own hand on a paua shell while collecting seafood.
These place names and many others have been preserved by generations of Maori people settling in the regions. While some of the names from other ancestors have been lost, those associated with Kupe; the first Polynesian navigator to discover NZ, seem to have endured