Graduate rewarded for studying what she loved

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Wellington-based WITT graduate Coral Dolan is returning home to Taranaki with her work Momento Flori which will be part of the exhibition State of Nature - Picturing the Silent Forest showing at Puke Ariki from 6 April 2023 to November 2023.

Thankful to her husband who first encouraged her to ‘study what you love’, Coral fitted her studies around motherhood and completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at WITT in 2008. She has been working as an artist since 2014 after stints as an exhibition installer at Puke Ariki and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre.

Coral is still in touch with many of her former classmates and remembers the WITT tutors as really passionate.

“They really pushed you to think critically and crystallise your thinking and dig deep to see what’s really driving the art.”

Coral has built up a body of work and has been part of solo and group exhibitions in Taranaki, Auckland and Australia.

She admits it is a hard industry to break into but encourages current students and graduates to persevere and put themselves out there.

“If you follow your passion and what interests you, you will discover it interests other people too.”

Her work ‘Momento Flori’ is inspired by the life and paintings of Fanny B Good and builds on her interest of the efforts of the 19th century female botanical artists arriving in New Zealand from Europe.

“These women had a commitment to document the fast-disappearing flora before it was completely gone. My own work speaks to the loss of the growing list of endangered plants.”

Coral uses photography, cyanotype, drawing, ceramics, embroidery, encaustic work, and bronze to create works on an intimate scale as part of larger installations and is currently adding to her skills with a Diploma in Ceramics. Follow Coral on Instagram coz_nz and pop along to Puke Ariki to see her work.

Image: From State of Nature - Picturing the Silent Forest exhibition

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