“I aim to denounce, remember and deconstruct something, or to tell a story”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
BD: I was born and grew up in Milan, Italy. I started engaging in art because of a simple necessity. I always expressed myself through art.
AT: When did it become serious?
BD: It became serious when I started to realize that many people recognized themselves in my artworks.
AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
BD: Of course, many people. I always had as references some African-Americans artists, some writers and singers. I am also blessed to be around people I met in real life, as Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you
describe your practice?
BD: I always start from something that is, in a way, close to me. Being a sculptress, I am interested in creating artworks connected to the space around them to engage the public physically and visually. My practice is a practice of a black woman raised and born in a eurocentric context. It’s important to me to keep my feminist and anti-colonial position as it’s also important to me to focus on many other things.
Materials are an essential part of my body of work. Materials are the self-expression of many different meanings I am interested in working with.
Dïà s p o r a, 2021 (Installation view) / Extension hair, rice plants / Exhibition at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury- Abidjan / Copyright The Artist
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
BD: I aim to denounce, remember and deconstruct something, or to tell a story.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
BD: My favourite materials are everything natural, simple but charged by meanings. My favourite tool is the body and its experience.
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
BD: I feel free. I feel me. I usually have a vision of the outcome. I start from the outcome, and then I learn, challenging myself during the work’s realization.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
BD: I understand that a work is done; when looking at it, I can feel something.
Dïà s p o r a, 2021 (Details) / Extension hair, rice plants / Exhibition at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury- Abidjan / Copyright The Artist
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
BD: It depends. It can be a personal urgency or a responsibility in telling and spreading or denouncing something.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
BD: I admire many artists. I admire their capacities in touching people and in criticizing our societies in a poetic way.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
BD: I wouldn’t say I like social media. I use them only because of my work.
I understand that some of them can be a helpful platform for sharing content, as art.
Paysage Corporels series, 2019, Cotton paper print, chalk / Ongoing
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
BD: I think that it can be better. It still needs to keep more attention in terms of care and inclusion. As an artist, I need to be considered a real worker and not only a creator. Looking at the context in which I live, I still can see persistent power games that try to instrumentalize non-white artists.
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
BD: The most challenging thing is to keep going every day, practising, creating and thinking. The most rewarding thing for me in being an artist is learning to unlearn and unlearn to learn.
AT: What do you do besides art?
BD: I am trying to focus only on art 🙂
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
BD: I hope to have the opportunity to continue my practice, travelling and enriching myself. I would love to confront my works in different geographical contexts. Personally, during my childhood, I never had local references in terms of art, so one of my goals is to be an inspiration for someone.
Black Powerless II, 2021, Silicone / Exhibition view at Galleria Giampaolo Abbondio / Copyright The Artist
Binta Diaw (b. 1995) is an Italian visual artist currently living and working in Milan, Italy. Often declined in the form of installations of various sizes, Binta Diaw's plastic research is part of a philosophical reflection on the social phenomena that define our contemporary world, such as migration, the notion of belonging or the question of gender. By fueling her research through contributions on intersectionality and feminism, Binta Diaw takes us into the exploration of multiple levels of identity; hers as a black woman in a Europeanized world, ours and that of a continuous crossroads of histories and geographies.