How an artist reshapes history through collage


Born in Panama, artist Giana De Dier is acutely aware of the history of how she arrived to be in a country hundreds of kilometers from exactly where her ancestors arrived from. This displacement of Africans is a subject matter she frequently explores in her collages. Centering the Afro-Caribbean individuals in her collages, she constructs a powerful image with archival photographs. These archival photos, as soon as a fetishized appear at the black entire body, grow to be a celebration of the daily life and society of the men and women that came prior to her. 

Let us choose a nearer seem at collage as an art variety ahead of diving deeper into De Dier’s will work. Sometimes it is straightforward to dismiss collage as an art kind which is finished by children. At a floor level, it might appear to be lazy to use pre-present photos to produce art. Should not an artist be qualified in creating some thing out of practically nothing? Isn’t employing pre-present things dishonest? 

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

Confident, if you want to search at it that way, but just like paint is the medium in which painters produce, collage artists see bits of paper and other resources as yet another medium to generate with.

As soon as printing turned far more well-liked and photography became much more available to the masses, photomontage turned far more well known with collage artists. Photomontage particularly refers to collages manufactured out of images, a process that De Dier uses. But what is so excellent about photomontages? Well, it is a way for artists to explore a distinct truth than the a person that we stay in. By working with current photos and modifying them, what’s created is far more akin to an alternate reality as opposed to a brand new reality.

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

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

Quite a few persons within just the African Diaspora have shed most to all call with their ancestors. Not like several other people, these Black individuals had no other way to join with their earlier. The most they can do is piece jointly what tiny they can. Equally, De Dier is piecing alongside one another a past that might or may possibly not have existed. When a picture can say a thousand phrases, it can concurrently maintain a thousand mysteries. 

With these archival shots, several of them are not determined, with some even referred to only with figures. It is complicated to find out the names of these individuals, let alone who their relatives or ancestors were being. So we, or rather De Dier, have to fill in a good deal of the holes. Confident, she can be “historically accurate” with her descriptions, but she does not. As an alternative, she treats them as royalties, providing them a loaded depiction of what their lives must have been.


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