Mar 12, 2016 | By Tess
Visual artist Delphine Diallo has been gaining attention recently for her thoughtful and provocative photographic and mixed media works that are challenging traditional roles of gender and race in the media. Her work, though always relevant, is particularly poignant within the recent climate of dissatisfaction with the predominantly white media. Working primarily with photography to represent women, often women of color, in an authentic, honest way, Diallo has also begun to incorporate a new technology into her artworks, that of 3D printing.
Diallo’s recent project, called Ritual, was inspired by Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth: Masks of Eternity as well as the want to combine ancient mythologies with contemporary technologies. The result? A series of stunning portraits of women wearing 3D printed masks that reflects on femininity, life, and spirituality.
Not having any expertise with 3D printing technologies, Diallo partnered with Nate Kolbeck, founder of 3D printing startup 3D Brooklyn, who helped her to bring her ideas to fruition. Together they 3D designed four white masks, each one representing a different theme of spirituality, and additively manufactured them on a Projet 660 Pro 3D out of a gypsum powder.
Each of the masks bears some resemblance to a human face, as they were based on 3D scans of Diallo’s own face, but each possesses a distinctly surreal, technological quality. Perhaps the most striking mask, which appears to have three faces, was based on an Aztec ceremonial mask from 1300 AD which represents birth, life, and death. Diallo says of that mask, “I’ve always love to add masks in my portraits to express different states of emotions. It was an opportunity to push the boundary and use a new technology. One of the masks is my face duplicated three times.”
Kolbeck, who helped digitally model the masks with his team, has worked with artists before to help them 3D print their projects and appreciates the experience. As he says, “Artists are fearless. They embrace new ideas and see potential much faster than society as a whole. Working with them helps us expand our own vision for the future.”
For the photoshoot with the three-faced mask, the results of which are pictured, Diallo wanted to explore themes of life and death and the chaos inherent in both of them. The final compositions consist of Diallo herself painted completely in white, surrounded by broken egg shells, wearing the 3D printed mask. For Diallo, the process was an extremely personal one, she says: “I recently lost someone that I deeply love and processing this ritual through photography was an important part of connecting with the idea of the soul, rebirth, and a healing process to get the pain out of the body.”
Diallo, who has studied and worked with art for most of her life, was inspired to begin creating and representing the natural beauty and spirit of people by photographer Peter Beard, whom she assisted on a Pirelli calendar shoot in Botswana in 2008. As she explains, “I wanted to create a new photography world where all my subjects are connected with their soul and match a more universal idea of beauty. Not one imposed by the media.”
With the recent incorporation of 3D printing into her work, Diallo has demonstrated that she is indeed fearless, as the scope of her work continues to grow and her attempts to challenge existing norms of beauty are becoming increasingly compelling. To check out more of Diallo’s photography and artworks, check out her Tumblr page.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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