Obituary: remembering Renaissance man Daniel Kojta

Daniel Kojta

9.4.1970 – 24.1.2018

There are too few Renaissance men. Today there is one less. Among so many things Daniel Kojta was an esteemed artist, teacher, former soldier and loving partner. He received many accolades for his art including winning the 2013 Sculpture at Scenic World, frequently exhibiting with the Cultural Centre and MAP (Modern Art Projects) within the Blue Mountains. Daniel also curated a memorable show at Bathurst Regional Gallery and participated in Cementa at Kandos. His most recent work was a video installation Walking All Over My Friends, 2017, commissioned by Artbank and curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham.

He was well respected by his peers within the Australian arts community and collaborated with Adam Cullen and Mike Parr amongst many others. Dan and Adam were close friends, embarking on many strange and wonderful adventures, yowie hunting being just one.

Most recently Dan participated in the Lowest to Highest Expedition, from Lake Eyre to Mount Kosciuszko, in September-October, 2017. A journey of 2100 kilometres on a hand cycle with renowned climber Paul Pritchard, the project was funded by World Expeditions with the goal of inspiring other disabled persons to continue to seek adventure beyond their perceived limitations. Dan was previously quoted as saying; “everything I do is challenging that notion of inability. I used to have (the message) on the back of my chair, ‘the only disability is the inability to perceive ability’.” He was also a mentor for the Front Up, an organisation funded by the Art Gallery Of NSW. This led to a recent major exhibition at Barangaroo Sydney, also in 2017.

Daniel was very close to his family and grew up with his much-loved mother Teresa and younger brother Joseph in Penrith. After spending time in the Mountains during his teen years he moved here permanently in his 20s. He pursued an interest in climbing which led him to be photographed by Steven Babka abseiling down Dog Face cliff in a wheelchair. The picture was later featured in National Geographic magazine. His life was a testament to his uncrushable spirit and determination. Perhaps though his greatest success was that he lived well. His passions and energy touched and inspired many right across the social spectrum, from outback kids to politicians and respected peers.

Now he embarks on his next adventure, flying free into the great beyond, dearly loved and greatly missed.

Daniel Kojta is survived by his wife, Laurice Ghannoum, his mother Teresa Kojta, brother Joseph Kojta, nieces, cousins and countless friends and peers who were his extended family.

A service celebrating his life will be held on Thursday, February 8 at 1pm at St Canice’s Catholic Church, 158 Katoomba Street, Katoomba.

“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.” Charles Bukowski.