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Meet Doriana Diaz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Doriana Diaz.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I started The Diaz Collections in January of 2020 after returning home from living in Europe. While I was abroad, I realized that I did not see myself reflected back to me within many of the artistic spaces offered. Black art has been historically undervalued and unrepresented. However, Black art has always been my church, it is where I go to pray. When I returned back to Philadelphia, the city’s rhythms grew stronger, more eager, and they felt replenished. I knew then that it was time and that Philly was the place for me to plant this seed and space. I wanted to curate an intentional community where Black art could be at the center, where it belongs. Where those of us who believe in its divinity could share space alongside one another in our own creative and artistic practices. This birthed The Diaz Collections; a collection of me. A collection of my many mothers, the many women who have poured themselves into me, who gave me the courage to tap into my own creative exploration. The Diaz Collections is a collection of our memory, it is a collection of Ubuntu; I am because you are. It is Sonia preaching “I will be a collector of me and put meat on my soul”. It is everything we have lost to get us here. It is a collection of us; as a community, as Black people earthside, and as ancestors, breathing life into the bone marrow. It is everything.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Like everything, there have been ups and downs. However, everything that has ever presented itself with difficulty or hardship has been an as equally crucial experience as those that have been remarkable. Of course, COVID was a huge challenge in the beginning, and a lot had to be reshaped and altered due to its existence. However, COVID has offered me huge lessons, ones that are truly priceless in their importance to not only me as a human being but my creative process and my creative freedom. I have learned over the course of the last year that working through imposter syndrome, comparison disease, and purpose are things that one must walk all the way through in order to come to the other side fully enlightened and ready to surrender to their own flow.

For me, those experiences are symptoms that I might never truly “get over”, they come and go in phases. I have learned that social media has a huge impact on my relationship with the symptoms I mentioned earlier. Like everything, one needs it in moderation. I had to purposefully seek out a balance where I was no longer damaging my nervous system by ingesting too much information that was harmful to me and my process. I have found intentional ways to limit my social media intake (purging/unfollowing/posting from apps instead of IG itself, allowing limited time windows during the day to use the app, etc…)

Within the 6 months, I have also rediscovered how to reclaim my time without any apology. That I am entitled to my own privacy and not everyone deserves access to me. I firmly believe that part of my un-conditioning process has been an understanding that I have no responsibility to produce, or labor labor labor day in and day out to be worth something during my time here. Existing is enough, anything that I do outside of that is a bonus.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
The Diaz Collections is a place that serves as a safe haven and intersection for Black women and femmes to indulge in as a vessel to decolonize their artistic wellness practices. This place offers us a connection to our roots. It is a pouring of the heart, courage, and energy back into our bodies. It is a place for our wounds to heal, for us to cultivate the power to preserve ourselves for ourselves and no one else. This place is an acknowledgment of the site of our own souls’ reflection that moves us so profoundly closer to our glory. The Diaz Collections pulses to the breath of the sanctuary that can be found in community. I am committed to catapulting our creative practices into our collective memory, so they can live on, in, and through us. I do this work for those who come after us, so they may know with immense certainty that they are allowed to aspire and that they are loved fully by their communities for everything that they are and everything that they have the power to become. All of my work centers around the archival practice of documenting Black women’s narratives, stories, and lives. I do this through various channels, audio, collage, writing, visuals, etc… But what remains at the center is my passion for curation and archiving.

A dear friend of mine, Carrie Blanch, said to me recently, “I believe that curators are essentially memory workers” I have been living with/returning to this over and over again for the past few months. This statement rang so true to me. It is to remind ourselves and our communities not to forget. We cannot forget the bloodshed, we cannot forget the wars, we cannot forget the genocide, we cannot forget the belly laughs, we cannot forget the Sula’s, we cannot forget the way our bodies meet the water, we cannot forget our glistening skin when Spring begins to peek out from under the clouds. We must remember not to forget. I will be remembering until my last breath, and beyond. Spirit has proven this to be so. Through the fabrication of this practice into my life, I learn to enhance my relationship to Spirit, I learn to welcome more awakening. I learn to surrender to my purpose; to be of service to my community. Like Nipsey Hussle declared, “We are here to give until we are empty”.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I have had an endless amount of help, guidance, and mentorship to bring me to this moment. I have had professors, teachers, therapists, friends, family, sisters, and so many others pour their offerings into me. I have finally arrived at a place in my life where I understand with great clarity what I am deserving of, and due to this, Spirit has inevitably aligned me with those who are able to give that to me and who I am able to offer reciprocity with freely. I want to hold space for the women in my village who make all of this work worthwhile. These women have opened up new cavities in my sphere that I could have never possibly known. They have led me to places of re-imagination. They have injected power into my bloodstream. They have enlightened me, they have instilled themselves into the fabric of my being. They are la camina, they are the way.

To you, Eniafe Isis, Chloe Dulce Louvouezo, Caesar, Eboné, Priscilla Agyeman, Sabrina Abdalla, Mariama Jalloh, Brianne Patrice, Renee Harrison, Aqueene Wilson, Ethel Tawe, Lyn Patterson, Justice Hamilton, Kiersten Adams, and all the women who have woven your power into my soil and nurtured the seed, I am because you are.

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Image Credits:

Cacie Rosario

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