Born into a French-Senegalese creative family, Delphine Diallo’s first expressions of artistry were in music, graphic design, and artistic direction. However, meeting North-American photographer Peter Beard (1938-2020) radically changed the course of her life, enabling her to become a photographer in the full capacity of her agentivity, teaching her invaluable practical lessons. An observer of the male gaze within the world of photography, Diallo made it her mission to become a key actor in the deconstruction of photographies sexist and racist history.
Since 2014, Diallo has been creating a visual language that would empower herself and the women who would become her protagonists and heroines. Diallo started by portraying friends and family members and turned them into goddesses — a way to honour what she names the “divine female body”. Her vision and mission for what these women are, and should be, would be constructed through a variety of motifs, such as body paint, jewellery, and various attire. Aware of the responsibility that comes with representing others, ethics is at the heart of her practice, with Diallo forming long-term relationships and collaborations with her sitters. Throughout the years, Diallo developed a photographic expression that plays with spiritual symbols evoking mythology, giving black women their rightful place in the pantheon. Her work aspires to elevate her subjects by creating new legends. In that respect, Diallo challenges and redefines the historical genre of portraiture.
Behind her carefully composed images, Diallo’s inspiration spans from martial arts and its relation to the body to non-western literature, all enriched by her in-depth research on spirituality and sciences. More recently, Diallo has been exploring the power and potentialities of self-portraiture, turning mental pictures — or lucid dreams — into carefully crafted mise-en-scène. Working mainly in digital and analogue photography, Diallo has utilised new tools to create art, such as AI, drawings, and found imagery. She has lately been diving into the world of collages and montages, expanding how she can convey narratives and share stories. She states “image-making is my space for acceptance, integrity, wisdom, beauty, strength, faith, mystery, and the universal matter”. Through her work, she has created her own way of “gazing back”, in-turn celebrating the black woman. Beyond assumptions, she aims at inclusive and transnational representations – dreaming of a future matriarchal society. Diallo proposes provocative visuals and crafts innovative iconographies to trigger the viewer’s politics and imagination.
Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions
‘The Golden Age’, Solo show, Fisheye Gallery, Paris, France.
‘Les Rencontres d Arles’, Fisheye Gallery, Paris, France.
Biennale della fotografia femminil, Mantua, Italy.
Photo London / Fisheye Gallery.
‘Lost Memories Black Diaspora’, The Crown Estate x Getty Images x MTArt Agency, London, UK.
Divine Solo Show, Fisheye Gallery, Paris, France.
AKAA Gallery, Solo show, Fisheye Gallery, Paris, France.
‘The Melanin Edit’, Allure Magazine, New York, US.
‘African Spirits’, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, US.
‘African Spirits’, Fisheye Gallery, Paris, France.
MIA Photo fair, Fisheye Gallery, Italy.
Photo London, Somerset House, Fisheye Gallery, London, UK.
Art Basil Miami, Miami, US.
Paris Photo, Fisheye Gallery, Paris, France.
‘Les recontres d Arles, Fisheye Gallery, Paris, France.
Resignification The Etherlbert Cooper Gallery, Cambridge, UK.
‘The Grace of Black Women’, National Arts Club, New York, US.
‘No commission’, The Dean Collection, Berlin, Germany
‘No commission’, The Dean Collection, Berlin, Germany.
Unseen Photo Fair, Red Hook Lab Gallery, New York, US.
‘Looking for America’, Diffusion, Cardiff International Festival of Photography, Wales, United Kingdom.
Photoquai, 5ème Biennale des Images du Monde’, Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France.
‘Intangible Beauty, Part I and II’, Kasher Potamkin Gallery, New York,
‘Portraits by Delphine Diallo’, Photoville, New York, US.
‘Harlem Postcards’, Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, US.
‘Emerging: Visual Art & Music in a Post-Hip-Hop Era’, Museum of
Contemporary African Diasporic Art, New York, US.
‘Freedom Ride’, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, US.
‘Highness’, Magic Photo Studio, Addis Foto Fest, Ethiopia.
‘Africa, See You, See Me, Dak’Art OFF, Goethe-Institut, Dakar, Senegal.
‘The Great Vision, Mariane Ibrahim Abdi Gallery, Washington, US.
Curate NYC, online exhibitions and guest curated shows, New York, US.
‘Pixelating: Black Image in the Age of Digital Reproduction’, Lambent Foundation, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Art, New York, US.
‘The African Continuum, United Nations’, New York, US.
‘Selected Mixed Media Works’, Opera Gallery, New York, US.
‘Are You a Hybrid?’, Museum of Art and Design, New York, US.
‘Africa, See You, See Me, Fondazione Studio Marangoni & Officine Fotografiche, Rome, Italy.
‘Africa, See You, See Me, Museu da Cidade, Lisboa, Portugal.
World Press Photo, The Washington Post, RGA agency, The New York Times, L’Oreal, Time Magazine, Esquire Magazine, The New Yorker, Nike, Gant, The Smithonian Magazine, United Nation, Delta, Guerlain, Tumi, Y&R, UNCF, Save the Children UK, Obey Giant, Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Anomaly, Swizz Beats, Bacardi, BBH Agency, Essence magazine, Afropunk, Dollhouse, Christian Scott, J Cole, Dreamville, Parkwood, Wesfield, Lionbabe, Gill Peterson, The Crown Estate, Quatar Creates.
Vogue Portugal, The Washington Post, Artsy, Vice, Marie Claire Italia, B&H, T-Magazine, Time Out magazine, Okayafrica, 99U Interview, Destig Magazine, The New Yorker, The Smithsonian Magazine, Uptown Magazine, PDN magazine, Transition magazine, Trace Magazine, Globetrotter Magazine, I AM Magazine, African Lens Volume IV, “Africa See You, See Me” Book, Nataal, The Wild Magazine, Phaidon, NBCnews, PBS, L’oeil de la Photographie, Okreal, UNWomen, Afropunk, Surface Magazine, artleadhera,”MFON Women Potographers of the African Diaspora”Book, Leonora Miano – “L’ imperatif transgressif” Cover Book, Published by L’Arche Editeur, Konbini, Picsart, The Gift Self Publishing, Hat & Beard Press Publication.
Follow Delphine Diallo on Instagram@delphinediallo