Nene Diallo

2019 marked the 13th year since Diallo immigrated from Guinea to the United States. Though she claims Newark to be home and labels herself American, she often finds herself disconnected from her “African-ness,” and Guinea. To work through this tension and displacement, she centralizes energy towards her artwork – which results in acts of healing, clarity, and release. This tension also forces her to confront the politics that are inherent to her dual-identities: Immigrant and American, African-ness and Blackness. These labels are all demanding space in one body while all fighting against legacies of erasure, silence, and violence, which in turn allows her work to advocate for and be in solidarity with social movements and revolutions including, Black Lives Matter. With African wax prints, photography, collage, and video, Diallo attempts to eloquently synthesize the variables of her identity using objects and materials as stand-ins.

She is always working on two things simultaneously. Often, her projects merge into one cohesive body of work. Currently, she is making flags and documenting the reminders of home that people take with them as they migrate. She is stitching language, both in english and in her native tongue Pular, across textile materials representative of her identities — playing with concepts of freedom and the american dream. The final products exist as sculptures that demand the right to occupy space.