Marginalia - Panama - Panama

Giana De Dier

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Through this section, monthly, we invite agents of the artistic system to share a selection of images related to their practice or current interests. Images are published daily in the header of our website and shared through our Instagram profile. At the end of the month, the complete selection of images is published together with a text that contextualizes them. Here is the selection of March 2022.

My practice is shaped by the experiences of black women from the Caribbean who came to Panama during the construction of the Canal in the early twentieth century. Many of the texts exclude women who were also key characters in the construction of communities, forms of exchange and coexistence in the isthmus of Panama during that time.

I look for ways to make visible and amplify the voice of these people using stories from my own family, based on the experiences of my maternal great-grandmother. I have intentionally interviewed family members and collected stories of her to understand the motivations for leaving her home in Barbados and venturing into a completely new and foreign space. I am interested in the day-to-day experiences, interactions with loved ones and friends, the ordinary, the human; what is not shown to us.

In the absence of photographs of black women in different spaces and contexts during the time of the Canal’s construction, I appropriated images from photographic archives from the African continent and the Caribbean to create each collage. Each piece links the African diaspora with photographs from my family archive, documents (such as birth certificates from the canal zone and letters), and other elements. More than a documentation of facts, I look to generate possibilities within the events experienced by black women and to reimagine how we are represented.


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