For centuries, the art world was seen through the eyes of a small few who, under a patriarchal society, chose the aesthetic and the narrative—and whose main depiction of the sacred female body was as an objectified and sexualized woman.
Delphine Diallo aims to change this dynamic. Her intention is for every woman she photographs to feel the image she makes of them is a personal gift. “I am not taking pictures, I am giving pictures,” as Diallo puts it. By engaging in intimate conversations with her subjects, Delphine removes the sense of vulnerability that often comes with being photographed. Working with body painters and jewelry and mask makers, Diallo also uses traditional mythology and spiritual symbols to empower her subjects. Her portraiture is all about connection and exchange. She believes women are deep beings and connects with them on an emotional level. The French-Senegalese photographer spends more time speaking with her subjects than photographing them.
Diallo’s photographs are never discriminating, yet deeply communicative, and portray women beyond judgment, soaking up their limitless beauty. Diallo's works are meant to encourage every woman to write a personal narrative, to take a stand, to have a firm voice. No preparatory models, sketches, or plans lay behind her photographs, which depict only outstanding feminine painted bodies. It is all a part of the vision flowing out of the artist's mind, grounded in her right brain hemisphere, predominant in her energetic and vibrant personality.
Drawing elements from eastern mythology and philosophy, whilst always ennobling and empowering women, her practice is reminiscent of Oriental 19th-century painting. Looking at Krishnamurti, Frantz Fanon, Joseph Campbell, Bruce Lee, Aimé Césaire, and A.D. Wilson as deep inspirational sources, her photographs raise awareness, appealing to all women to awaken their senses. Diallo immerses herself in the realm of the feminine universe and her eloquent portraiture technique unveils and stirs unexplored emotion and insight meant to reach beyond appearances.
“We are in constant search for wonder and growth. I see art as a vessel to express consciousness and as an access to diffuse wisdom, enlightenment, fear, beauty, ugliness, mystery, faith, strength, fearlessness, and universal matter”.
Artist: Delphine Diallo Date: 2010
Artist: Delphine Diallo Date: 2019