Born and raised in Italy, Dani found himself moving to South Africa in 2011 to begin a new chapter. He had become disillusioned with the fast-paced European lifestyle and business world and was ready for change. After much searching in the Western Cape, he settled in the small village of McGregor. This provided the perfect setting for his photography to naturally evolve into something deeper and long-lasting.
Previously photography had always been just a pastime and when Dani photographed the local Poetry Festival, he realised it was an incredible opportunity to express his creativity. His passion for capturing images that portray the essence and the experience was truly ignited.
Since then he has continued to photograph McGregor and its beautiful surroundings as well as local events, further honing his skills and techniques. In 2017, La Galleria came into being and has become a home for Dani’s art and the work of invited artists. Dani continues to create fine art prints and stock images which are available to purchase online. Please view the Collections to browse.
LA GALLERIA ARTISTS
Meet some of the artists that we have had the pleasure of collaborating with.
Richard Joshua, Cape Town, South Africa (1962 - )
“I see my art as a journey of discovery, with the freedom to explore and develop my own visual language. I am fascinated and drawn to the interruption of realism, by improvising with painterly brush strokes and mark making. My aim is to create movement and emotion in a realm where colour and expression is appreciated more than true representation.”
Richard is resident in the historic town of McGregor, Western Cape. It is here that he has found the perfect setting for his artistic expression. From his childhood in the townships, through his graphic design and visual art studies, to his strong connection with the native people of Arizona, he has always been immersed in visual imagery in some form or other.
Portraits, commonplace buildings, landscapes and horses are the focal points of some of his most celebrated artwork. Through innovative use of brushes, squeegees, ink brayers and palette knives, Richard creates a unique style that conveys a sense of life, vibrance and captures the true essence of the subject.
Richard lists Nicoli Fechen, Alex Kanevsky and Christian Hook, amongst others, as current sources of inspiration.
James de Knoop
To publish a biography, I feel that to say something in this context is to omit something else. What I can say is that I was born in Johannesburg in 1966 and for as long as I can remember I am fascinated by the language of the arts and have been practicing as a professional painter for thirty years.
Joni-Leigh Doran (b.1981) is a South African artist working predominantly in the traditional medium of oil paint on canvas and linen. Formally trained as a graphic designer, she studied oil painting under renowned South African artist Ryno Swart during his later years. She has exhibited both locally and internationally including two solo exhibitions in the Langeberg region, and was the “Facing Extinction" category Winner of David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition in 2022 and a finalist for 3 years prior. She aims to depict the beauty and fragility of the non-human world through her work, and animals and natural landscapes have always provided her with limitless inspiration.
‘From a tiny rural village in West Bali to an isolated farm in the Klein Karoo, I spent a significant part of my adulthood rebelling against a “conventional life”. I consistently chose to live in places with big skies, wild seas and vast landscapes teeming with life (and as little of the human kind as possible). It was in 2021, shortly before my 40th birthday, that I took up residence in the village of McGregor, “only for a time” I told myself. But once here I realized how much I’d missed the sense of community I never knew I’d been longing for. Living among other creatives and people who, like me, believe in inclusivity, in living lightly and in harmony with nature, it wasn’t long I fell in love and before I knew it, I’d put down roots. I have yet to find a more peaceful and inspiring place to live.’
I live the life I love which includes the whole caboodle from peace to chaos, vulnerability to liberation. I strive to express the resulting personal growth in my art with heartfelt directness rather than intellectual control. My art depicts images such as figures, flowers, birds which become carriers of deeper meaning. The theme running through all my work is inner transformation.
Solly Smook currently resides in Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape, South Africa. Born in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, 1968, matriculated at Jan van Riebeeck High school and studied Graphic design at Cape Technikon. After years in the restaurant trade, Solly became a full time artist in 2003. With more than 50 very successful group and solo exhibitions his art found its way to various collections all over the globe.
International auctions of his donated work includes - The Foundling museum for FoodBank Africa, Amnesty International at Mandela Rhodes, Cape Town and MAD Leadership foundation at the Painter’s Hall in London. 2018 Charities- A Beautiful Mind NPO, MAD Leadership Foundation and Goldilocks & the 3 bears for children with learning disabilities. Magazine and book covers include - Good Taste Magazine, Kidege, Blick, Arabella Life and, Splash. His work was also featured in the Art Times, The South African Artist, and Contemporary artists of South Africa.
In his works, Smook reconsiders the conventions of portrait painting through a continued pursuit of combining classic portraiture with contemporary techniques, tools and colour. With his goal to produce paintings that engage with matters beyond what is immediately visible, quite often consciously and reflexively questioning the nature of spiritual identity as something deconstructed, created and tangible. www.sollysmook.com
Hanneke Benade ́completed the degree BA (Fine Arts) in 1993 at the University of Pretoria. She majored in Printmaking/Lithography and worked as a part-time lecturer in drawing.
From the start of her art career she took part in group shows locally and abroad. She participated at the Joburg Biennale and was represented at the London Art Fair. She showed extensively in Cape Town and Gauteng and is represented by The Everard Reads Gallery and other selected galleries.
Hanneke received several awards, among them Merit Awards at the ABSA Atelier,Sasol New Signatures,The Thembisa Art Award,The Kebble Award and received two Kanna- Awards at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn where she was festival artist in 2016.
Some of her work are housed in collections of the Universities of Stellenbosch, - Pretoria, -Free State and University of Johannesburg; as well as Spier Holdings, Rand Merchant Bank, SAB, Hollard House, Pretoria Art Museum, Iziko Museum Cape Town,The Gauteng Provincial Government, British American Tobacco Company, Sanlam, Sasol, Telkom and ABSA and her work is housed in several private collections. www.hannekebenade.com
Floris van Zyl
Floris van Zyl (born 1971, Bloemfontein) is a South African Expressionist painter who has studied graphic design in the early 90`s, built his own design agency over 17 years and returned to painting full time in 2010. In just over 5 years he created more than 400 artworks, including around 200 oil paintings. Floris has sold locally and internationally and works include landscapes, still life images, portraits and self-portraits. His work is characterised by bold, symbolic colours, and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork. One of the themes in Van Zyl`s work is to take things apart: to take realism and make it abstract by using a palette knife, to extend the paint beyond the boundaries of the form we know.
He strive to capture an emotional climate more than likeness. The formal properties of paint are central concerns to Van Zyl, who employs the visceral materiality of oil paint and the expressive potential of colour to create a sense of frailty and potency.
Floris studied Graphic Design at the DUT of Pretoria and graduated in 1993 before starting up his own design and art studio in Gauteng province of South Africa. He grew it into a successful business and worked extensively in the fields of advertising and communication creating brand and training awareness. By 2009 he relocated to the quiet town of Hilton in the Midlands of Kwa-Zulu Natal to follow his passion for paint. Floris currently lives in McGregor, Western Cape where he enjoys a lifestyle that supports his creative expression.
Floris started exhibiting in 2011 and has since exhibited in Johannesburg and the Western Cape. During 2016, 8 of his artworks was exhibited in the Pretoria Museum of Art. He has build a considerable following in South Africa and in Europe. His work featured in various publications including Visi, SLOW Magazine, Dossier, The SA Artist, various newspapers, radio and Television interviews.
John Adam Barrow
John Adam Barrow was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1963. After completing his schooling he studied architecture at the University of Cape Town. He left South Africa in 1984 and resided in Europe for the following 22 years. The first number of years he lived in London, then Portugal and moved to Sweden in 1989. He completed his architectural studies in Sweden. John has two daughters. John returned to South Africa in 2006. He moved to McGregor, a village in the Western Cape in 2015 where he resides. His works are an expression of his most prevalent thoughts and concerns. The vivid clarity of the images is a representation of this endeavour.
The artist Neil Jonker is surrounded in his everyday life by the abundant light and creativity of the rural landscape. The small hamlet of Baardskeerdersbos where he lives, lies in the Overberg area of the Western Cape, South Africa. It lies amongst rolling hills and mountains which stretch beneath open skies to the coast-line of Walker Bay.
There is a whole lot in the air which smacks of the creative marriage of nature and human endeavour as can be experienced in Provence or Tuscany - from the extraordinary natural light playing across the landscape, to the celebration of country values in the communal life of a rural village. Here ideas are given time and warmth to rise like the yeast in a good farm bread or plaasbrood. This bread, baked also by Jonker himself, is best shared warm and steaming with a good glass of wine and robust company, sitting on a wide voor-stoep or verandah taking in the view and the country air. Even as terroir enters the soul of a good bottle of wine, so too in the soul of the artist.
Within the cycle of creativity, to engage with Jonker's art is to experience something of this sensual country lifestyle (without having to brave the veld-fires and muddy roads and mosquitoes for yourself!).
Growing up in ostrich-farming community of Oudtshoorn, Niel Jonker is the son of an ostrich farmer and school teacher. From his youth, he has always shied away from the attention provoked by his talent, seeking solace in the endless wonders contained in nature.
Capturing life's majesty and diversity through the Lens.
Mark's journey began, not in the dimly lit corridors of a prestigious art school, but in the virtual world of IT. Yet his soul yearned for more.
Two decades ago, he bravely switched careers to explore the world through a lens. Mark's lens transformed everyday scenes into captivating art, revealing hidden narratives and raw emotions.
His work celebrates freedom, joy, and introspection, inspiring viewers to embrace boundless possibilities. Mark's dedication to community and diversity fuels his creativity, as he skilfully navigates spaces, minds, and hearts.
Mark reveres the power of his craft with a heartfelt appreciation, fully aware of the luxury bestowed upon him. The camera, his cherished companion, opens doors to intimate encounters, giving him the privilege to witness and capture the fleeting magic that makes us all uniquely human. His lens is a bridge, fostering a deep understanding and connection between subjects and viewers, making the world a little brighter.
After twenty years of soul-searching, he’s unveiling his first photography exhibition, proving that following one's heart is worth the wait.
Join Mark on his soul-stirring journey, where familiar and extraordinary worlds converge, and laughter accompanies every click of the shutter. His story embodies the indomitable spirit of pursuing one's passion, no matter the time it takes.
Young Italian enthusiast photographer with a passion for nature, mountain climbing, bike racing and photography of course. She likes to capture and share the beauty of her homeland mountains scenarios.
Group exhibition December 2021
I live in Italy, in Trieste, the most northeastern city in Italy. A windy city, famous for its wind: the Bora. And like the Bora, my way of experiencing things is to find a chink where things can flow and get to their essence.
IT expert in the world of TLC, I have always wanted to create the necessary connections between different worlds, and I also search for this connection between emotions and photographs.
Group exhibition December 2021
Tony was born in South Africa in 1956. He studied photography in Durban and worked as a photographer in the Cape Town advertising industry until 2000. He then started a printing company called Southern Editions, making prints for photographers and fine artists.