How an artist reshapes history through collage


Born in Panama, artist Giana De Dier is acutely mindful of the historical past of how she arrived to be in a place hundreds of kilometers from where by her ancestors arrived from. This displacement of Africans is a topic she generally explores in her collages. Centering the Afro-Caribbean men and women in her collages, she constructs a impressive graphic with archival images. These archival photographs, when a fetishized glance at the black body, become a celebration of the lifetime and society of the people today that came in advance of her. 

Let us acquire a closer look at collage as an art form before diving further into De Dier’s is effective. Sometimes it’s effortless to dismiss collage as an artwork sort which is finished by kids. At a surface stage, it may seem to be lazy to use pre-current photos to build art. Should not an artist be qualified in creating a little something out of very little? Is not making use of pre-existing factors cheating? 

“La cosecha”, 2021. Combined 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 a further medium to make with.

As soon as printing turned much more popular and photography turned extra available to the masses, photomontage grew to become much more well known with collage artists. Photomontage especially refers to collages produced out of pictures, a technique that De Dier utilizes. But what’s so wonderful about photomontages? Nicely, it’s a way for artists to examine a distinct truth than the one that we stay in. By working with present pics and transforming them, what’s produced is far more akin to an alternate truth as opposed to a brand name new reality.

Now let us go back to De Dier’s operates with archival images of (usually) enslaved Africans in the Caribbean.

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

Numerous men and women inside of the African Diaspora have misplaced most to all contact with their ancestors. Not like several some others, these Black individuals had no other way to join with their previous. The most they can do is piece with each other what tiny they can. Likewise, De Dier is piecing with each other a previous that might or may not have existed. Whilst a photo can say a thousand words and phrases, it can concurrently maintain a thousand mysteries. 

With these archival pics, lots of of them are not identified, with some even referred to only with figures. It is difficult to come across out the names of these people, permit alone who their family or ancestors have been. So we, or fairly De Dier, have to fill in a large amount of the holes. Guaranteed, she can be “historically accurate” with her descriptions, but she does not. Instead, she treats them as royalties, supplying them a wealthy depiction of what their life really should have been.


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