Donna Demente | BIO < back to artists

Born in 1968, in Takapuna Auckland. Donna Demente graduated from the Elam School of Fine Art at Auckland University in 1987.

Since 1990, Demente has held many solo exhibitions in galleries nationwide, including the Dunedin Public Art Gallery (1993), the Eastern Southland Public Gallery (1992 and 1994), Robert McDougall Gallery in Christchurch (1995), Forrester Gallery, Oamaru (1996 and 1998), and the Aigantighe Gallery in Timaru (1997).

She has also commissioned works for Te Papa Tongarewa, which has been on exhibition since 2001. In 2005 Demente was awarded the Telecom white pages arts award for the Oamaru / Timaru region.

Several of Demente's works are held in the collection of the Wearable Arts Museum in Nelson, which have toured internationally.  Her works are also held in Government House, Te Papa, Forrester Gallery collection, and the Eastern Southland Gallery Collection. 

Wearable Arts Awards
1991 - Supreme Award Winner ('Pallas Athene')
1996 - Wedding Section Winner
1997 - Directors Choice Award Winner
2003 - 'Ikowimono' submitted to the creative Excellence section for ex-winners and judges

Since 1990, Demente has been involved in numerous community performance projects, artist's collectives, annual festivals and events, establishing and directing many of these in the Otago region.

Since moving to Oamaru in 1995, she has dedicated herself to enhancing the cultural essence of the Victorian precinct, and established an annual midwinter asquerade festival, plus a Summer Arts Carnival. Demente is a sculptor, painter, and performance artist - she is best known for her lacquered, papier-mâché sculptures of Greek goddesses and carnival
characters - icons that are familiar in Dunedin's cafes and restaurants, and adorn public places in Oamaru.

Venus di Milos, jesters, saints and angelic or warrior-like female forms are the models for her imagination. Demente's magical and melancholic faces are beautifully decorative - she uses symbols drawn from Victoriana, astrology, alchemy and Renaissance art.

Sensual and feminine, her work is a poetic caricature of bizarre and familiar visual histories.