Here at RAW, we love showcasing artists that incorporate cultural influences in their artwork. With the world being such a diverse place, cultures should be celebrated and expressed in a creative way. We are so excited to introduce one of our New York City visual artists, whose artwork thrives in this category, Ceres Dasia Henry, a.k.a Diaja. Her amazing photographs showcase her vision of culture intertwined with a touch of nature.
Ceres is a jack-of-all-trades, as she is a designer, body painter, photographer, and overall lover of the arts. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with an associates degree in Patternmaking and a Bachelors in production management. From there she took her skills and passion for the arts to intern at Sean John, Norma Kamali and Poppington Gallery. It was then that Ceres felt that she was equipped with the necessary tools to transform her dreams into reality by becoming a designer and a photographer. With the help of her supportive parents, Ceres created a line featuring quality handbags, jewelry, and fine apparel called Diaja.
After her successful launch of Diaja, Ceres decided to fully dedicate herself to photography. Her dad always said that she had an eye for it, so she decided to take a course in college to educate herself and get a true understanding of photography as a whole. Through her photographs, Ceres likes to convey messages of truth, beauty, facts, and/or life’s reality. It takes a process of picking the right models and themes to truly portray her message. However, rather than actively searching for a particular model, Ceres prefers to naturally come across a model that fits perfectly with one of the several ideas constantly floating in her head. When she discovers a model that is perfect for an idea, she connects with them and that is when the magic happens.
Ceres expressed that she draws inspiration from music, social disparities, flowers, people of color, Black/African culture, and nature. “I am a super girly black woman that loves nature and flowers, is in love with my rich culture and I like to use my art to highlight issues of life, including social disparities.” Ceres explains, “These topics are who I am.” Current events also play a major role in her artwork. It's the combination of events or an issue that's recurring like the killings of unarmed black men at the hands of police, the racial double standards of society, as well as undocumented current events, such as the pros and cons of gentrification, or the countless stories she hears about the abuse of cultural appropriation.
Ceres overall goal with her photography is to inspire and enlighten people with her art. She wants people to really grasp the message she is trying to convey or even come up with their own interpretation that may enlighten her.
We LOVED having Diaja at our New York City FIXATE show, she absolutely killed it with her amazing artwork! In the future, she plans to incorporate her designs from her Diaja line in her photographs. Keep up with Ceres (Diaja) on her social media sites to watch her continue to grow as an amazing photographer and designer.