How an artist reshapes history through collage


Born in Panama, artist Giana De Dier is acutely mindful of the history of how she arrived to be in a region countless numbers of kilometers from exactly where her ancestors arrived from. This displacement of Africans is a subject matter she often explores in her collages. Centering the Afro-Caribbean men and women in her collages, she constructs a impressive image with archival shots. These archival images, once a fetishized glimpse at the black body, come to be a celebration of the everyday living and culture of the people that arrived in advance of her. 

Let’s get a closer appear at collage as an art kind in advance of diving further into De Dier’s performs. Occasionally it is simple to dismiss collage as an artwork form that is completed by little ones. At a floor degree, it could possibly look lazy to use pre-current photos to make artwork. Should not an artist be skilled in creating some thing out of nothing? Is not using pre-present factors cheating? 

“La cosecha”, 2021. Mixed media collage, acrylic sheet and gold leaf on Fabriano watercolor paper. 50 x 38 cm.

Positive, if you want to seem at it that way, but just like paint is the medium in which painters create, collage artists see bits of paper and other components as one more medium to generate with.

The moment printing turned much more popular and images turned additional available to the masses, photomontage turned additional well-known with collage artists. Photomontage specially refers to collages produced out of images, a strategy that De Dier employs. But what’s so excellent about photomontages? Effectively, it’s a way for artists to explore a various truth than the one that we reside in. By employing current photographs and shifting them, what is made is additional akin to an alternate fact as opposed to a model new actuality.

Now let us go back again to De Dier’s works with archival photographs of (typically) enslaved Africans in the Caribbean.

“Whistling in the darkish”, 2021. Mixed media collage on Fabriano watercolor paper. 33 x26 cm.

Several people today in just the African Diaspora have missing most to all speak to with their ancestors. As opposed to several some others, these Black people experienced no other way to hook up with their past. The most they can do is piece jointly what minor they can. In the same way, De Dier is piecing together a past that may or may possibly not have existed. When a picture can say a thousand words, it can concurrently hold a thousand mysteries. 

With these archival pictures, numerous of them are not determined, with some even referred to only with figures. It is challenging to come across out the names of these people, let alone who their family members or ancestors ended up. So we, or fairly De Dier, have to fill in a great deal of the holes. Certain, she can be “historically accurate” with her descriptions, but she doesn’t. Instead, she treats them as royalties, giving them a wealthy depiction of what their life need to have been.


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