Bodies and Force: The experience of blackness in the work of Delphine Desane

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] In “Cuerpas y Contundencia: La experiencia de la negritud en la obra de Delphine Desane” [Bodies and Force: The experience of blackness in the work of Delphine Desane] Mariana Álvarez Castillo (Afroféminas) discusses the work of Delphine Desane. [Although I balked at writing the word “cuerpas” instead of “cuerpos” or “cuerpos femeninos,” some people have begun to reclaim and feminize the word as an act of breaking down the hegemonic structures; I respect the author’s intention.]

Description: Born in France, and daughter of Haitian migrants, Delphine Desane studied Fashion Design and, after many years as a stylist in Paris and Milan, her career changed direction almost unexpectedly. After becoming a mother almost four years ago, she began painting as a form of therapy during her postpartum depression, until in January of this year she covered one of the seven covers of Vogue Italy‘s landmark issue on sustainability, and at the end of 2020 she will have her first solo exhibition as a visual artist at the Luce Gallery in Italy. She currently resides in New York, where she has her studio and carries out most of her work. Hence, her images draw disaggregated snippets of her experiences as a black woman, a mother, a migrant, and the daughter of migrants.

Delphine evokes the faces of the African and Afro-Caribbean diaspora, giving them a forceful corporality: to see these paintings is to allow the interpellation of their characters who seem to stare at us, in a gesture that at times seems meditative and at times firm, resounding, immobile. When I say that these characters show forcefulness in their faces, I mean that Delphine places their bodies there, in front of us, in such a way that it is impossible for us not to see them. They are the object of the painting and they are there, showing themselves indisputably. The image belongs to them.

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in Spanish), see

One thought on “Bodies and Force: The experience of blackness in the work of Delphine Desane

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s