Artist Conversation: Dorian Diaz



Alexandra Bronte Newe

Week 6, B6 Artist Conversation

Artist: Dorian Diaz

Exhibition: Mourning Migration

Media: Sculpting

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: No found website

Dorian Diaz is currently completing his undergraduate degree, more specifically a BFA in Sculpture at California State University Long Beach. He is originally from El Salvador and lived in Honduras for a time. Diaz produces work that reflects the cultural and social issues of modern times. Diaz works with many different mediums within sculpting.

Diaz’s piece consists of traditional Mayan and Aztec pieces. The centerpiece is about 20 or so Aztec figurine heads hanging from black cloth from the ceiling. Each head is made of different materials ranging from porcelain to plaster to resin. In the back of the room is a jar filled with water and the original sculpture of the Mayan head. In the right corner is a bowl full of volcanic ash from Honduras surrounded by three of the sculpted heads. Next to this is a sculpted head made of the volcanic ash that was compressed. In the left corner was a Mayan conch with an ocarina dating back hundreds of years. Towards the entrance of the exhibit was a cube covered in newspapers depicting the great migration of people from Honduras escaping the poverty and crime.

The overall exhibit explores the issues revolving around Honduras. Almost 10,000 people have migrated from Honduras to the US. They are trying to escape violence as well as unemployment. Diaz, from El Salvador, formulated his exhibit to reflect this. By remaking Aztec as well as Mayan artifacts, Diaz was calling on times of the past to one of the most prosperous civilizations on the planet. Diaz’s art truly reminded me of Mayan culture. Where people are now leaving, lived once the prosperous culture that discovered farming as well as advanced civilization.

Diaz’s work was truly relevant to today. I was not aware that thousands of Hondurans were leaving in a caravan because of oppression, unemployment, and violence. They are leaving behind them, the roots of the civilization that discovered the writing system, astrology, as well as agriculture. Diaz’s work becomes a metaphor, juxtaposing the modern news coverage about the migration with the traditional Mayan pieces. He creates a world where violence and poverty become the aftermath of a time of greatness. It is truly bothersome to think about and hopefully, his work inspires more people and educates them about the current situation facing thousands of people.  

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