"My art amplifies and examines the black and brown experience through visual aesthetics. The works I have submitted are proof of that examination."
Open Your Arms For Me, Philadelphia, Pa, 2019
Island Women of Wisdom , Philadelphia, Pa, 2019.
I Love The Way You Look At Me, Philadelphia, Pa, 2019.
Doriana Diaz is a Philadelphia based Afro-Latina female multidisciplinary artist focusing on written and visual works. She creates to harness her most authentic self and express true vulnerability.
Can you describe yourself or your personal identity with a five-word story? Why did you choose those words?
Vulnerability, Resilience, Tenderness, Blood, Glory.
How does this series, as a whole, or each piece individually, represent the idea, embody, or visualize the essence of identity for you?
I think identity has been something I have struggled with a lot throughout my life. I still, sometimes, don’t know or completely understand all that a human being can contain, and that’s what enamors me so much about the human condition. Who you chose chooses your whole life. I have chosen me. Recently I have made the shift of radical self-acceptance. I have made the commitment to myself to explore the infinite number of ways I can hold myself in the moments when I feel like I am shattered or shattering. I am understanding that I am always shifting, always changing, always growing and evolving, but what always must exist at my center is acceptance. That is what I do my best to portray with these pieces and with my art as a whole. I want the viewer to have a love affair with the multidimensionality of my humanness, of my blackness, my womanhood, my queerness. I want the viewer to see there are various ways of harnessing my humanity and experiencing my creations while also understanding there is a duality and that is for them to see themselves in it while finding some solace and sanctuary from all the chaos.
How do you think mass media and society have impacted or informed your personal identity as an Afro-Latina woman?
My Afro-Latina identity is something that is very important to me and, like most, growing up I did not see myself or my experiences properly represented within the mass media. So, it was not an identity that I claimed or had a reference to begin to create and define as a young child. In the last few years, my Afro-Latina-ness is an identity I have been empowered by many to claim and begin the journey of defining for myself. Puerto Rico has been my muse and my guidance in defining that identity. Visiting the island was like walking inside my own dreams. I had no idea what parts of myself would be waiting for me there. The mass media is not where I look to for that. It has come from other external places and people in my own life.
Why do you create?
I create to feel, to remind myself that I am human, having a human experience. 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. Creating is a birthing process. My creations are my proof to the world that I have existed, that I have loved, fought, survived, liberated. I create to pay homage to all the places my body and my mind have been. It is my children and my children’s children’s inheritance. It is everything that I have to give. It is everything that is inside me begging to be born.
Who do you create for?
I create for myself, and I create for those who can look at my art and find themselves in my narratives even if it’s just a glimpse. I create for womanhood, Afro-Latinas, Queer folx, Black folx. I want people to look at what I make and see a story they have been afraid to tell or haven’t been able to tell, and feel empowered to speak, write, paint, photograph, etc… it into existence. I create for the purpose of healing, for the purpose of bearing witness to untold narratives that need space to be heard. I create for the purpose of amplifying marginalized voices into solar systems and atmospheres. I create for us.
How has your locale informed your identity?
Philadelphia is my home. I understand myself and see myself reflected back to me in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is my mama. It has birthed me, hurt me, shielded me, protected me, failed me, taught me, and nourished me. I know it and it knows me. It has been and it still is an arena of knowledge, nourishment, discovery, and experimentation. I have learned more about myself in Philly than I ever have anywhere else and that is because it has mothered me, and I have been blessed enough to be its daughter.
Have you been able to find or create a physical community where you live?
Yes. A thousand times over. The creative community that I have built for myself in Philadelphia has shifted and influenced, supported, inspired, and uplifted me. In moments when I feel blocked, they encourage me. When I feel lonely, they surround me. The collection of bodies and minds I have stumbled upon in my city have curated my artistic direction and desires monumentally. This city and its people are the reason I am brave enough to continue to feed that fire in me.
How has the Internet expanded, or changed, your idea of and involvement in community exchanges?
I think, in a lot of ways, the internet has expanded my reach to certain communities and people, and for that, I am profoundly grateful. I would not have known about a lot of the organizations, creatives, and movements accruing if it was not for the reach and power that social media embodies. Social media has also enabled me to find different groups and communities to showcase my art, or to promote a show, which is why I have been able to curate and accomplish many of the things I have.