December 3, 2023


General Line

How an artist reshapes history through collage


Born in Panama, artist Giana De Dier is acutely mindful of the background of how she came to be in a country 1000’s of kilometers from in which her ancestors arrived from. This displacement of Africans is a subject matter she usually explores in her collages. Centering the Afro-Caribbean people in her collages, she constructs a powerful image with archival pics. These archival photos, the moment a fetishized appear at the black physique, develop into a celebration of the life and tradition of the individuals that arrived before her. 

Let’s consider a nearer glimpse at collage as an art type right before diving deeper into De Dier’s functions. Occasionally it is easy to dismiss collage as an artwork type which is carried out by kids. At a floor level, it could possibly look lazy to use pre-present photographs to create art. Shouldn’t an artist be skilled in making something out of very little? Isn’t making use of pre-existing things dishonest? 

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

Certain, 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 products as a different medium to generate with.

At the time printing became a lot more well-liked and photography became extra available to the masses, photomontage became additional well-liked with collage artists. Photomontage specifically refers to collages built out of images, a approach that De Dier employs. But what’s so terrific about photomontages? Very well, it is a way for artists to discover a distinctive fact than the 1 that we stay in. By using current shots and transforming them, what is produced is far more akin to an alternate fact as opposed to a model new fact.

Now let us go back to De Dier’s is effective with archival photographs of (commonly) enslaved Africans in the Caribbean.

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

Several men and women in the African Diaspora have dropped most to all contact with their ancestors. As opposed to lots of other people, these Black people experienced no other way to connect with their previous. The most they can do is piece collectively what minor they can. Equally, De Dier is piecing collectively a earlier that may perhaps or might not have existed. Even though a photo can say a thousand words and phrases, it can at the same time hold a thousand mysteries. 

With these archival photographs, a lot of of them are not identified, with some even referred to only with numbers. It’s difficult to find out the names of these persons, let on your own who their loved ones or ancestors had been. So we, or rather De Dier, have to fill in a large amount of the holes. Certain, she can be “historically accurate” with her descriptions, but she doesn’t. Alternatively, she treats them as royalties, offering them a rich depiction of what their lives need to have been.


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