Featured Artist


Donatella Nardari

South Africa
Grand Prize Award Recipient
Purchase Award Recipient
Donatella Nardari
Sample Work
No exhibits found.

Donatella Nardari's artwork is characterized by a vibrant, naïf style that explores the versatility of oil pastels. Her pieces often exhibit rich textures and a playful use of color, drawing from her diverse cultural experiences in Italy, Austria, and South Africa. Despite her initial career in music, her dedication to art has grown, leading to several exhibitions and a distinctive artistic voice that combines elements of European and African influences.

Artist Statement

Color. It has always moved me. I am mostly drawn to the arrangement of color in a painting.

I tended initially towards a naïf style of painting, though this did not prevent me from experimenting in other ways.

Living in the North West of Southern Africa, in an area surrounded by bush and all sorts of fauna, there is always something of the natural world to discover. I started on a project of depicting animals that are found in this area.

Soon the idea of adding a human element to my images started evolving.

There is no intention on my part to make a realistic portrayal of what I see. I would rather try to touch that indefinable quality between the real and the imagined world.

I have always been close to my Italian roots and have often wondered at the twists and turns of life that have contrived to find me in a culture and natural habitat far from my origins.

I have decided to exploit this dichotomy in my images and find that they surprise and intrigue me  prompting me to further explore possibilities.

Due to an allergic reaction to oil and acrylic paint, my medium of choice is oil pastel. It is the closest to the texture I seek. I generally find oil pastel to be a versatile and pliable medium.

Of Italian origin, her parents emigrated to South Africa in the early nineteen sixties where she grew up.

She started drawing at an early age, but went on to study music. After her studies she went to Italy, to do a course in chamber music. She ended up staying there for several years. Italy provided ample inspiration for her interest in art. She tried her hand at illustration and subsequently had a calendar published based on a Venetian folk story: Petin e Petee. She held her first exhibition of illustrations in 1995 at the Oratorio dell'Assunta in the town of Conegliano, Veneto. She attended an illustration workshop in Sarmede, Veneto, led by Linda Wolfsgrüber.

Having returned to South Africa, where she still lives, she continued working as music teacher and where time permitted, she attended art workshops to better her understanding of techniques and strategies in facing the sometimes daunting task of bringing life to a blank canvas.

From the late Ernst de Jongh she learnt the techniques of oil painting and from renowned artist Greg Kerr, she learnt the thinking behind the setting of an image.

She has since participated in several group exhibitions.

In 2017 she was awarded 5th place in an Art Competition held in Cordignano Italy. In 2019 she held a solo exhibition combining  piano music to her paintings in Villa Frova, Caneva, Italy.

She has had, in recent years more time to dedicate to her abiding interest in the making of images.

Custom Art Commission Request

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