Dylan Mooney: Community Voices – ASSI History Month

This week we shine a light on the powerful and moving artwork of Dylan Mooney as part of our ASSI History Month Community Voices series. Dylan took the time to answer a few questions about his art practice and where he finds inspiration.

Dylan Mooney, black & white image by Jesse Williams.

Dylan Mooney is a proud Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander man from Mackay in North Queensland working across painting, printmaking, digital illustration and drawing.”

Influenced by history, culture and family, Mooney responds to community stories, current affairs and social media. Armed with a rich cultural upbringing, Mooney now translates the knowledge and stories passed down to him, through art. Legally blind, the digital medium’s backlit display allows the artist to produce a high-impact illustrative style with bright, saturated colour that reflects his experiences with keen political energy and insight.

Where did you grow up and how has it influenced your art practice? 

I grew up in Mackay, QLD it has really influenced my art practice because of the diversity and the history behind the area. Having all my family there and hearing the stories about our origins and culture has reinforced my art.

Where do you find inspiration for your art work? 

I get my inspiration from my family and community and landscapes. Hearing the stories about our people and the legacy my ancestors have left behind is what I really try to put into my artworks

“Given chains”, digital illustration, Dylan Mooney.

What art project has been a highlight in your career so far and why does this stand out? 

The art project that has been the highlight of my career is doing my residency at Artspace Mackay. I had the opportunity to paint my mob’s traditional Yuwi Shields in the Foyer gallery and being able to bring them back to community was very meaningful to me and my family and just seeing the community’s reactions and getting very good feedback was beautiful.

“Goolmary”, mural, paint & acrylic pens, Artspace Mackay, Dylan Mooney.

Whose work in the Australian South Sea Islander community are you inspired by? 

Imelda Miller (Queensland Museum Curator, Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Indigenous Studies Cultures and Histories) has got to be one of my biggest idols within the South Sea Islander community, seeing all the work she has done for our people and the work she is doing now is very special and very inspiring to me. Imelda has been one of my mentors throughout the years and getting to work with her on a number of ASSI projects has been very special. I am very thankful to not only call her family but my mentor and my friend.

What projects are you working on currently?

I am currently working on a South Sea Islander project and creating new works for that and hoping to have an exhibition at the end of the project. I also have my 2nd solo exhibition at Cairns Art Gallery. It’s exciting because I get to show my culture to other communities and just being to show my works in galleries is very special. 

Where do you see your art practice heading in the future? 

I hope to have my own space to promote and give other Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander Artists a space to share their artworks and help them pursue a career in the arts industry. 

You have a big online presence, what do you like about interacting with an audience? What kind of feedback and encouragement do you receive online? 

What I love about it is that I am seeing other deadly mob from all over this continent and seeing their deadly work they do. It’s been great feedback from social media and great support from other mobs and hearing that just makes me happy, you know to get that deadly support from mob is the best type of encouragement for me.

What advice do you have for any young, aspiring or emerging artists?

The advice I have for them is to keep up what you’re doing. You know we have all this knowledge and culture behind us and there’s nothing we can’t do. 

Where can people find you online? 

Instagram is my main art page you can find me at @dylanmooney__

Further links:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dylanmooney__/

Biography & Art: https://www.nsmithgallery.com/artists/36-dylan-mooney/overview/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtistDylanMooney

Featured image: “We remember them”, digital illustration, Dylan Mooney. All images courtesy of the artist.


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