Dagmar is the first woman of Tongan descent to graduate from Elam School of Fine Arts. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1994 and Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts in 1995. Dagmar has been a recipient of numerous Creative New Zealand grants and was a finalist in the 2002 James Wallace Art Awards. She has participated in a number of international projects, including a two week print workshop at the Fine Arts Faculty, Brigham Young University, Utah in 2012. That
The motivation for Dagmar’s printmaking and painting practice is closely aligned with her Tongan and German ancestry. In particular, Dagmar draws inspiration from koloa, a general term that encompasses Tonga’s rich history of textiles arts, including bark cloth, mats, garments and woven basketry. By paying close attention to patterns found in customary art forms, Dagmar has created a visual vocabulary that plays with the scale, shapes and repetition of traditional motifs. More recently, Dagmar has been interested in the meeting point between traditional and contemporary influences. She notes that in her prints and paintings, the “work remains sectionalised as tradition proclaims, but the palette combines the energies and colours of a modern Pacific landscape with the subtlety of customary barkcloth”.
In 2013, she exhibited a series of new works in ‘Between the lines’ at Solander Works on Paper Gallery in Wellington. The body of work draws upon the iconography found not only in the mainly female produced material culture of koloa but also the male produced intricate wood incisions located on ancient Tongan war clubs. Dagmar’s interest in celebrating Tongan culture extends to her advocacy for Tongan Contemporary art. She is one of the founding members of the Tongan Visual Artist Collective, No’o Fakataha, an organisation formed to support, enhance and encourage Tongan arts and artists in the wider Auckland community. In 2012, the weeklong festival Matala – A celebration of Tongan culture was held at Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland. As part of the festival, Dagmar held the key role of co-curator for the inaugural Tongan visual artists’ exhibition No’o fakataha.
Dagmar has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, in locations as broad as Australia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga, the United States, Norway, China and Germany. Recent group exhibitions include Tonga 'I Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary, Pataka Art + Museum, Porirua, 2013 and Made in Oceania - Tapa Art and Social Landscapes, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Cultures of the World, Cologne, 2013. Her work is held in many collections, including the New Zealand Parliamentary Collection, MFAT, MPIA and Auckland and Manukau Councils, as well as a number of corporate collections. She is represented in Auckland by Momentum Print Gallery and in Wellington by Solander Gallery. Since completing her Grad Dip in Tchng (Primary) in 2009 Dyck has merged her skills and is passionate about empowering her students through the platform of the arts. She is currently the resident art teacher at Sylvia Park School in Mt Wellington, Auckland.