Cover art for podcast The Institute of Black Imagination.

The Institute of Black Imagination.

34 EpisodesProduced by darioWebsite

Welcome to The Institute of Black Imagination hosted by artist, writer, and brand consultant Dario Calmese. Each week we bring you conversations from The Pool of Black Genius: a collection of iconoclasts at the leading edge of cultural thought and innovation. More than anything, we are here to inspi… read more


E11. Weaving Narratives w. Artist Diedrick Brackens.

Diedrick Brackens on his first encounter with creativity: “Moving my hands in the pursuit of language feels important and to me, it’s so relative to the way that I build narratives with textiles. (10:33)

What is a Fiber artist? Currently represented by the galleries Various Small Fires in LA, and Jack Shainman in New York, Diedrick is, and I quote” best known for his woven tapestries that explore allegory and narrative through the artist’s autobiography, broader themes of African American and queer identity, as well as American history. Brackens employs techniques from West African weaving, quilting from the American South and European tapestry-making to create both abstract and figurative works.”

In 2018 Diedrick was awarded the prestigious Studio Museum Wein Prize, and made his New York Institutional debut in 2019 at the New Museum with his Exhibition, “darling Divined.” His current body of work, “Blessed are the MOsquitos” explores the impact of HIV/AIDS on the black queer community.

Here are some highlights…

On his origin story: “My parents were just like- packrat, that’s how they saw it. But I was like, no I’m like making things, building stuff, I’m kind of creating this little universe - I always was just like fascinated by my own thoughts and ideas about how the world worked or what kind of fantasy I could construct out of this junk” (5:49)

On his first encounter with creativity: “I think I knew that I was going to write very early, and I wanted to write creatively. And I think somehow as I went along, I just was in these spaces where I don’t think you’re encouraged to write as a child, you have to know how to write, you have to write this essay like you’re writing for a particular type of information, you’re not writing as a tool of self-expression. So I think there was no avenue as a small child that cultivated that thing so I moved into art” (9:11)

On how he approaches a new piece: “For me, it comes out of thinking about my experiences of the world and what I have lacked or been rewarded with. How to make an image out of that” (24:34)

On the advantages and disadvantages of growing up without mentors: “Mentors and I also wanna say like fathership; mentors who serve a specific role around like what is it going to look like in 30 years, or what should I be doing right now, or how do I navigate the world that I live in right now” (26:02)

On his relationship with his father: “I think of that both in the role of a biological father but like this person who has actually lived it. And I remember my dad would always saying, ‘There’s nothing new under the sun, I mean now I’m like maybe

Links we mention in the episode:

Diedrick's Instagram: @deedsweaves
Link to Diedrick's work:

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