Artist's Statement: Dorcas Thete

Dorcas TheteB.A. Acting '18

How do you start the first collage? When do you decide to clip the first image?

I find myself collaging things that have to do with my identity as a black woman.

After writing in journals since the age of nine, I needed another outlet to express my ever- changing emotions. I started to draw. One day I drew a face with a mouth on it (I know it sounds stupid, I was emotional/in the midst of puberty/discovered Drake). This soon became the first step to the rendition of my first collage. The collage was a visual diary of my emotional state, from the deaths of family members, to learning to love myself, to having the realization that I wanted to make art. After making my first collage, I stopped for a very long time because my performing arts boarding school took over my life. [Now] I get my inspiration for my collages when I look at images from Ebony and Essence magazines. I first start collaging by finding images that catch my eye from various magazines (a lot from Vogue and EBONY). I look at images from Vogue because of the bold and bright colors, not for the people. Most of the people represented in Vogue are white women and I want my art to reflect who I am as a person. I do not put any images of any white people in my collages because they don’t reflect who I am. I always have a visceral feeling where to place every image. It’s actually quiet beautiful. I feel like I have no control of how my artwork is going to end up because it is bigger than my two brown hands. When I make collages I fully project my emotions onto the artwork. I become unapologetic. There is no doubt in my head that I am right. I have control. My artwork is a total juxtaposition of my identity that at times feels stuck due to the social construct that my skin color isn’t enough. That I am not enough, but with my collages I am finally enough.