Daniel Connell, Artist
Master of Visual Art, PhD candidate at UniSA
The eyes of the subjects in Daniel Connell’s characteristic giant charcoal portraits are both windows and mirrors, drawing the viewer into them and at the same time inviting self-reflection. The Adelaide artist and UniSA alumnus has worked across many communities and cultures in Adelaide and India. His work in India has reached hundreds of millions of people via the immense media coverage received.
Adelaide audiences are able to view his latest works, made in and with communities across India, at his current exhibition, Xenosceptica 3, at UniSA’s Hawke Centre Kerry Packer Civic Gallery. The exhibition, which runs until 31 March, is based on work with a group of Tamil women working as migrant labourers in Kerala. Daniel is keen to reach out to Adelaide’s Tamil community.
Daniel holds a Master of Visual Arts from UniSA’s School of Art Architecture and Design where he is currently undertaking his PhD.
He also has degrees in Spanish language and Latin American Studies and Education. Prior to undertaking his initial formal art training at the SA Central School of Art, Daniel worked as a school teacher for nine years. It was during this time that he became involved in many social and community organisations which lay the foundation for his collaborative approach to making art in communities.
Over the last three years Daniel has worked extensively in South India completing major projects and residencies in Chennai in the Mithra Community for people with physical and intellectual challenges, in collaboration with UniSA’s Associate Professor Peter Gale and with the Kochi Biennale of Contemporary Art Foundation in Kochi. For his popular Arts in Medicine project Daniel sat with cancer patients at the Kochi Government Hospital and made a series of hand drawn portraits. It was subsequently presented at Art Istanbul 2014 and voted in the top five most popular projects for the city of Kochi. The large scale portraits still line the corridors of the oncology department.
Daniel is collaborating on a new work with Prof Nicholas Procter, UniSA’s Chair: Mental Health Nursing at the Sansom Institute for Health Research. They were first introduced by Lynette Kelly through the Human Rights and Security Research and Innovation Cluster in 2011. After attending a conference together on Suicide Prevention in Chennai, they decided to experiment with drawing together the arts and mental health under the concept of human connectedness. This is the first time Prof Procter has worked with a visual artist and their piece called ‘Human Connectedness’ is part of the forthcoming Icons of South Australia exhibition at the SAHMRI building.
Xenosceptica 3 is on display at the Hawke Centre’s Kerry Packer Civic Gallery until 31 March, open weekdays 9am – 5pm and until 7pm on Thursdays.
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