PRESERVATION GARDEN, 2020
THE RECKONING, 2020
"...a compilation of my own personal reclaiming of the inherent beauty that lies within my blackness. These works are proof of my journey of finding new ways to fall in love with my skin every day.
My artistry explores cultural agency through various healing vessels and archival documentation of multigenerational black narratives. I am rooted in Philadelphia's soulful rhythms. I create to come home to myself, to find new ways to fall in love with my bones, my blood, and my body because only I can honor the sacred stories that they hold. I create for my ancestors, those who have walked tireless journeys and parted the red sea for us to walk through with less weight on our spines. I am energized by their wildest dreams. Creating is a birthing process. My creations are my proof to the world that I have existed. It is my children and my children’s children’s inheritance. It is everything that is inside me begging to be born."
Preservation Garden, 2020
The Reckoning, 2020
VERONICA ELIZABETH THOMAS in conversation with DORIANA DIAZ
THOMAS: Is there a moment, or series of moments, you can recall from childhood, that has shaped the ways in which you engage with your hair?
DIAZ: When I was a child, my mama used to take me to a hair salon in Germantown. I used to sit for hours, under the care of a woman named Anita. She’d cornrow my hair in intricate detail, massaging my scalp, pulling each strand of hair, weaving it into delicacy as she told her childhood stories about grandmothers and aunties. When she was done, she’d spin me around, she’d look me in my eye, hold my cheeks and say, “I’ve never seen anything so magnificent.” When I left the shop, I felt like the most beautiful girl that ever walked the Earth. Anita was my angel, my light force, my protector, my magician.
THOMAS: PEASY is an homage to Black womxnhood. What does honoring your Blackness and womxn-ness in your everyday rituals look like?
DIAZ: Paying homage, everyday I pay homage to all the places we have been. I pay homage to all that has been lost to get me here. I pay homage to those who have walked tireless journeys and parted the Red Sea for us to walk through with less weight on our spines. When I close my eyes I see my Abuelita and all fourteen of her brothers and sisters, raised in heavy rain, the islands coated in their barefoot beauty. I am reminded of the symphony of testimonies written in my name.
THOMAS: PEASY asks its audience to look beyond the imagery and into the soul of what it means to be a Black womxn - what does being a Black womxn mean / feel like to you?
DIAZ: Being a Black womxn is caressing my own heart, nourishing my own human and tearing back every layer of myself, fearlessly, to be in solace with all that I uncover. Amongst all that my body has withstood, it is learning how to glide quietly under the sunlight, feeding on peace, and meeting me at the cusp of freedom. It is understanding how to be my own mama, my own
Northstar, my own God.
THOMAS: Is there any message, feeling or intention you wish to communicate about your experience of Black womxnhood?
DIAZ: Our wounds come from the same source as our power.