Echoes of an ancient past run rampant through this captivating vision of the future. Elaborate braids- at once hair, mask, and headdress- reference African traditions and sculpture while also bearing a stylistic resemblance to the lei niho palaloa, human hair necklaces worn by Native Hawaiian nobility. Dressed in a style which incorporates East Asian and Western elements, accented with industrial metal jewelry, she is a regal figure indeed. Though her face is mostly covered, a piercing stare breaks through, timeless and unwavering.
In this piece, part of the Highness series, Diallo continues her process of blending traditions and mixing mediums. The familiar markers of identity- hair, clothing, jewelry- are carefully crafted to reveal a futuristic hybrid. These are the only clues we are given. Pictured against a grey background, we are left to wonder about the world inhabited by this fascinating creature.
Of French and Senegalese descent, Diallo graduated from the Académie Charpentier School of Visual Art in Paris but did not pursue a career in the arts right away. She returned to photography seven years later, after traveling to Senegal and reconnecting with her father’s family. There she created the Magic Photo Studio series, in which portraits of family members were embellished through collage and drawing, and later the Renaissance series, which celebrated local character. But it is not only her own background which provides inspiration; a trip to Crow country in 2010, where she witnessed the celebration of Native American culture, was transformative in breaking through the constraints of demarcating past and present, traditional and modern.
Introducing the work with artist :Tresse Agoche, Soull Ogun, and Dynasty Presh