July 23, 2024


Sublime Arts Bar None

How an artist reshapes history through collage


Born in Panama, artist Giana De Dier is acutely aware of the heritage of how she arrived to be in a country thousands of kilometers from the place her ancestors came from. This displacement of Africans is a topic she usually explores in her collages. Centering the Afro-Caribbean folks in her collages, she constructs a impressive impression with archival pictures. These archival pictures, once a fetishized search at the black system, turn into a celebration of the life and culture of the individuals that arrived before her. 

Let us take a closer appear at collage as an art kind ahead of diving deeper into De Dier’s operates. Often it’s effortless to dismiss collage as an art sort which is finished by little ones. At a area level, it may well appear lazy to use pre-existing pictures to generate art. Shouldn’t an artist be expert in making a thing out of nothing? Is not using pre-current things 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 appear at it that way, but just like paint is the medium in which painters produce, collage artists see bits of paper and other supplies as a different medium to make with.

When printing grew to become additional well-liked and photography turned a lot more available to the masses, photomontage grew to become additional well-liked with collage artists. Photomontage especially refers to collages built out of photographs, a strategy that De Dier uses. But what’s so wonderful about photomontages? Nicely, it is a way for artists to discover a distinctive reality than the one that we reside in. By employing existing photographs and switching them, what’s made is extra akin to an alternate reality as opposed to a model new reality.

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

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

Several persons within the African Diaspora have lost most to all contact with their ancestors. Not like a lot of many others, these Black people experienced no other way to link with their past. The most they can do is piece together what tiny they can. Equally, De Dier is piecing collectively a previous that may or may well not have existed. Even though a photograph can say a thousand text, it can at the same time keep a thousand mysteries. 

With these archival pictures, numerous of them are not determined, with some even referred to only with figures. It is tough to obtain out the names of these men and women, permit by itself who their spouse and children or ancestors were being. So we, or rather De Dier, have to fill in a whole lot of the holes. Certain, she can be “historically accurate” with her descriptions, but she doesn’t. In its place, she treats them as royalties, supplying them a rich depiction of what their life must have been.


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