The Girls Who Spun Gold
“I delicately weave stories concerning circumstance, value, and power and use my work to create a physical and allegorical space presented through a Black feminine lens. I am drawn to matters of sexuality and intimacy, calling upon my lived experience as a girl, woman, and mother. The result is an environment that is dependent upon the belief that alchemy takes place in the tangible world. And that in order to maintain resiliency, a magical outlook is necessary.”
Blas uses photography, collage, video, and books to address matters of sexuality, intimacy, and her lived experience as a girl, woman, and mother. Blas creates 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. In this space, props function as extensions of the body, costumes as markers of identity, and gestures/actions reveal the performance, celebration, discovery and confrontation involved in reclaiming one’s body for their own exploration, discovery and understanding. She is recognized for her body of work entitled ‘The Girls Who Spun Gold’, which is a collection of images that are the result of a Girl Empowerment Group that Blas founded after observing a lack of space and community for adolescent girls of colour in Ithaca, N.Y. Her goal was to create a space where an amazing group of girls she had developed interpersonal relationships with felt valued, supported, and that filled in the blanks where their formal education did not serve them. Eventually their bonds were reproduced visually in the photographs that they worked to make together.
Nydia Blas is a visual artist living in Ithaca, New York with her husband and two children. She holds a B.S. from Ithaca College, and received her M.F.A. from Syracuse University in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Southside Community Center, Inc., a historically Black community center founded by a group of Black women in 1934. She is one of six selected talents of World Press’ 2018 6×6 Global Talent Program for North and Central America. She is a recipient of the 2018 Light Work grant. She taught a course entitled “Photography as a Tool” for the Image Text MFA program at Ithaca College in the summer of 2018, and previously taught photography courses at Syracuse University in the Department of Transmedia. She has completed artist residencies at Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and The Center for Photography at Woodstock. Her work is featured in the book Mfon: A Journal of Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. She has been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Dazed and Confused Magazine, Strange Fire Collective, Lenscult, Yogurt Magazine, PDN, Fotografia Magazine, and more.