Maria Donnai lives in Hull, East Yorkshire. She graduated from Hull College with a BA(Hons) in Fine Art in 2022. At present she is studying for an MA in Creative Practice.
Maria works with a variety of different media, currently focusing on combining porcelain, glass and taxidermy to create collections consisting of multiple fragments. Influenced by natural history museums, she aims to encourage people to think about the fragility of life and the ongoing concerns about species extinction.
Birds are a recurrent theme in her artwork and she makes small pieces of porcelain inspired by their skeletal structure. These are burnished, sanded and polished to create tactile pieces that are then assembled into collections. Combining these pieces with fragile glass feathers and elements of taxidermy allows Maria to express the feelings of loss and longing that she experiences when considering extinction. It is important to her to build a collection that connects these fragments and encourages viewers to care about the natural world. She has made a deliberate choice to keep the fragments small enough to fit in the palm of the hand and invites people to handle them in the hope of evoking a desire to protect and preserve.