National Portrait Gallery

Dylan Mooney
Wattle, 2021
digital Illustration
© the artist and N.Smith Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is excited to be partnering with Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander artist Dylan Mooney, for the 2024 Enlighten Festival. This year’s display will see Mooney transform the façade of the National Portrait Gallery building into a giant digital canvas via a livestreamed drawing performance. Against an animated backdrop, Mooney will undertake a nightly portrait drawing session which will dynamically appear in real-time on the building. With no two nights the same, this commission encourages audiences to return during the festival.

Born in Mackay, North Queensland, Mooney works across painting, printmaking, digital illustration drawing. His digitally based work, made using a digital tablet, intertwines history with current affairs and the visual language of social media and asks us to consider the how digital technology intersects with identity, desire and representation. Legally blind, the tablet’s backlit display allows Mooney to produce a high-impact illustrative style with bright, saturated colour that reflects his experiences with keen political energy and insight. These vibrant illustrations are celebratory and tender and profile queer relationships and First Nations people with pride.