Erika Diettes: Introspección
I am grieving, my beloved father who passed away three months ago. My beloved General had lost his capacity to use words, he could lose anything but his words.
As an artist dedicated for many years to study grief in a country that has lived through such horrific and unjust violence, I admit a certain level of guilt for grieving like as if the world just came to an end. My father was not that old, he suffered a couple of strokes and passed away.
I have studied, read and witnessed for many years the concept of grieving in my art work, but until losing someone so close, you don’t know what grieving really is.
Fatherless, what exactly does it mean to lose one’s structure?
For me my world came to a stop. As simple as that. But then, literally today with this pandemic the world has stopped.
We learned about COVID-19 on the news and never thought it would hit so close. Once the numbers of infected people started to appear in Colombia we were put into lockdown.
I wanted the world to give me time and space for all of it to stop. It was already frozen for me, I had lost my foundation.
I realize that it is not entirely true, my father gave me the strength to be here now in the PRESENT.
However, for an artist dedicated for more than one decade to study memory, it’s a big permission from the universe to have time to think, to be here, to acknowledge one’s fragility and to grieve.
I am here looking at myself through my lens, reflecting on my own fear and fragility in relation to everyone else’s. I know it is through the steps that I have walked before that my absence will be relevant. It is through my past presence in remote places like Liverpool, that I could be remembered in the future.
COVID-19 has placed all of us in a strange awareness of our presence. Now for sure with all the anguish we feel, we are aware of the space our presence fills. That explains the reason for me to share this self-portrait taken with the reflections of a crystal camera. As a human being, I am aware of my own fragility (crystal), but I am also aware of the power of my gaze. Now in the middle of lockdown, in the midst of COVID-19, the only thing I can do, is look at myself, breathe and empower the best of my own world to rise back and see you again.
Erika Diettes is a visual artist and social communicator who graduated from the Pontifical Javeriana University. Her double degree is reflected both in her exhibitions and in her publications due to the clear intent of establishing an intimal dialog between her work and the observer. She also has a master on Anthropology from University of the Andes. Without a doubt, you can corroborate that she puts all the knowledge she has at her disposition thanks to her academic background in her work. As a result, there is a blend between the image, message, and process, a trinity that is the conceptual and structural cornerstone of all her works.
Currently, the artistic work of Erika is recognized and supported for each and every one of the mourners and victims with whom she has worked. She is also known on an international level thanks, not only to the different places she has taken her exhibitions but also to the awards she has received. Among them a nomination for the Visionary Awards in 2015 where she was a finalist. Diettes won the Tim Hetherington Trust and the World Press Photo Foundation Fellowship scholarship (2017-2018).
On April 2019 Erika was selected as part of the group of women artists, leaders, and intellectuals that within each of their respective fields are an example for their contribution to commemorate and celebrate the achievements and struggles of women from around the world. The exhibition SUDARIOS was picked to open the cultural calendar of the city of Liverpool, England, dedicated for the entirety of the 2019 to celebrate and commemorate International Women’s Day and RISE.
RISE Together on BBC Radio Merseyside
Want to find out more about the RISE Together programme? Culture Liverpool’s Head of Arts & Participation and RISE curator, Alicia Smith, took part in the below BBC Radio Merseyside interview with Jermaine Foster. Just press play and skip to 51.50 to catch up now.