While he has been called a faith leader, an educator, and an artist, de’Angelo Dia prefers the categories poet, theologian, and comic book scholar.
All of these elements can be found in his drawings seen throughout Mint Museum Uptown.
Dia sets his figures in a state of development: their bodies are cocooned, but their heads have blossomed, each with unique features and a distinctive hairstyle. When Dia started the large scrolls, he was writing about people whose evolution–physical and spiritual– was arrested by systemic oppression. Similarly, the characters he draws explore different expressions and elements of African-American culture while not referring to a specific African tradition. The intention, Dia explains, is to recognize the hybrid nature of the culture those from the African diaspora must create in their new lands. Dia writes, “Slavery stripped people of their culture. These drawings celebrate the tenacity of Black and brown people to create a new culture.” This is a process, however. Dia wraps his figures in a chrysalis; in this condition, though they are preserved from harm, they also are not yet free. They are suspended in transition.