Nydia Blas

6x6 North and Central America Talent:
Nydia Blas, USA

“Nydia Blas delicately weaves stories concerning circumstance, value, and power and uses her work to create a physical and allegorical space presented through a Black feminine lens. The result is an environment that is dependent upon the belief that in order to maintain resiliency, a magical outlook is necessary.” - Jeanne Mercier, France, art consultant, critic, curator and 6x6 nominator

Nydia Blas is a visual artist living in Ithaca, New York with her husband and two children. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Southside Community Center, Inc. Blas is a recipient of the 2018 Light Work Grant, and her work is featured in the book ‘Mfon: A Journal of Women Photographers of the African Diaspora’.

The Girls who Spun Gold

“After observing a lack of space for Black girls to express their needs, explore real life questions, and their experiences in Ithaca, New York, I began a Girl Empowerment Group. Our bonds are reproduced visually in the photographs that we made together which reveal a relationship that is based on mutual respect, care, and understanding. It is necessary to acknowledge the way society ignores, limits, and values you as an individual, and work outside of these confines to create realistic and complicated ways of seeing and looking at ourselves. I am drawn to matters of sexuality and intimacy, as a result of my experience as a girl, woman, and teenage mother. In order to navigate the often-harsh realities of circumstance and maintain resiliency, a magical outlook is necessary. In this space, props function as extensions of the body, costumes as markers of identity, and gestures reveal the performance, celebration, discovery and confrontation involved in self-definition within pre-existing structures.

Whatever You Like

‘Whatever You Like’ is a concise exhibition exploring the ways in which Black girls learn to reclaim themselves for their own pleasure. As girls are taught to see themselves through the eyes of others, they also learn that their bodies are seen to be about pleasing other people. ‘Whatever You Like’ interrogates this notion as the subjects step outside of imposed confines, focus on the interior, and create complicated ways to see themselves.