Delphine Diaw Diallo
Today we chat to artist Delphine Diaw Diallo. We welcome you to the SA Creative Network.
Please tell us, who is Delphine Diaw Diallo?
I guess you can check my name first. I’m French Senegalese. I was raised and grew up in Paris with my parents and my brother, Stephane.
At a very young age, I felt different because my mom was blonde with blue eyes and my dad was African. Young kids would always see this and not believe that my mom was my mom. It was special for me. I felt lucky to have my French family and my African family together. When I was six, my mom put my brother and I into judo as martial arts training. I practiced for seven years. I will always thank my mom for giving me this opportunity. She was teaching us how to draw along with art history, bringing us to the museum all the time. After graduating from school I went to a school of visual art for photography classes. I spent hours in the dark room and felt so in tune with photography, but it was still just an instinct. I didn’t trust myself enough to believe I could follow my own path. Maturity came after I worked for companies in the music industry and after lots of travel.
Where do you draw your inspiration from and how would you define your style?
I can find my inspiration on the street. If you have style, you are already out of style. My style is to not have specific style. I have confidence that I’m following a simple universal idea. From iPhone pictures to collages to illustration to video, I have to make sure that the message is going in the same direction, even though I love contradictions, as long as they are relevant. Probably being really conscious of my mixed culture made me understand better what is matter to be a human being.
Please tell us about the Magic Photo Studio.
Magic Photo Studio was the first step into my artistic expression. I remember those days. I was 23 years old and didn’t feel good about myself, so I decided to book a ticket for Dakar, Senegal and start to discover my family. I spent most of my trip in Saint Louis du Senegal and i shot portraits of my family. After months, I came back, checked the photos and realised it wasn’t enough. I started to draw on them and tell a story linked with giving more affection to my family.
In 2008, photographer Peter Beard invited you to assist him in Botswana and collaborate on his photography art project. Please tell about this experience and about the project.
Peter Beard changed my life because he challenged me to see outside my own world. Spending time with him allowed me to project a new perspective, he is very sarcastic but he loves life and this contradiction makes him such a good artist. He was 74-years-old at the time and even if he was already successful; he always kept producing a lot. We met in Paris at a charity event for Africa. We spent hours talking about life, politics, beliefs, love and everything. It was meant to happen. That’s how my journey started, and how Peter give me a red pill and put me outside the matrix. I travelled to the most amazing place in Africa – Botswana, for the Pirelli Calendar 2009. I felt I was free for the first time in my life. Peter was really giving me the chance to express myself and allow me to shoot him, and also work on creative ideas with him. After an amazing awakening, I had to challenge myself to a new birth , to create a body of work. That’s why I moved to New York in 2009.
Describe your art book, The Gift.
The Gift is my latest work, it is an art book that brings together pieces from my work, but most importantly, it carries the message about the ‘gift’ of art and artistic vision. My goal was to create a new voice for the art of the 21st century. It brings together a universal language of cultural expressions that addresses everything from traditions to new movements and icons of our own era. The art book also introduces “The Gift NY”, which is a video project that features other artists living in New York City and how they express their ‘gift’ of art. Both projects not only celebrate art for what it is but also looks to those who create it, their message, and what inspired them to create this art.
Where can the readers view more of your work?
My work is currently showing at the Mocada in Brooklyn, NY
It is also at Opera Gallery in Soho, NY
My blog is www.delphinediallo.wordpress.com
My Twitter handle: http://twitter.com/delphinediallo
My website: http://www.delphinediawdiallo.com