Binta Diaw lives and works in Milan, IT

Born and raised in Italy and of Senegalese origin, Binta Diaw engages in an ongoing investigation to understand the plural identities that emanate from her own experience as a young Black woman from the African diaspora in Europe, which she extends to the experiences of Black women who share a similar story. The symbolism of hair has been very present in her formation, as it is in all African traditions and communities that constitute and define essential chains of knowledge and memory transmission through matrilineal lineage.

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Binta Diaw, Dïà s p o r a, 202, artificial hair, iron, plants, soil, dimensions variable, installation view, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan, 2021/22, photo: Issam Zejly, courtesy Galerie Cécile Fakhoury © Binta Diaw

The Atlantic slave trade brutally extracted millions of Africans from their homes, transporting them to the Americas to work in cotton, rice, sugarcane, banana, cacao, and tobacco plantations. Deeply rooted in their cultures and traditions, enslaved people retained their rituals and collective song and dance practices as an act of both resistance and survival. This allowed them to remain spiritually connected to their motherland. Animated by determination and inner force, enslaved women used hair braiding techniques to recreate maps of the plantations in order to escape to freedom. It was very common to hide seeds within their braids as a means to regenerate life in future settlements.

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Binta Diaw, Dïà s p o r a, 202, artificial hair, iron, plants, soil, dimensions variable, installation view, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan, 2021/22, photo: Issam Zejly, courtesy Galerie Cécile Fakhoury © Binta Diaw

Departing from this history, Diaw seeks answers to questions regarding the current politics of migration and identity. Facing forward by planting her found seeds, the artist invites the viewer to bear witness to their future germination, which symbolizes a longstanding desire to heal this historical trauma.

Marie Helene Pereira

Exhibitions

Les tirés ailleurs, 2022, ChertLüdde, Berlin (DE) (solo)

Unraveling the (under-) Development Complex, 2022, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (DE)

Dïàspora, 2021, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan (CI) (solo)

It Is Not Wrong To Go Back and Take Something You Forgot, 2021, Una Boccata d’Arte – Monastero Bormida, Monastera Bormida (IT) (solo)

I have this memory, it is not my own, 2020, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Dakar (SN)

Nero Sangue, 2020, Museo MA*GA, Gallarate (IT) (solo)

Artefici del nostro tempo, 2019, Centro Culturale Candiani, Venice (IT)