Eliana DAVYES BERNARDO
“Seeing an artistic identity form naturally allowing that process to reveal itself, rather than forcing it or attempting to create for the sake of creating.”
“led to the understanding that art, in its entirety has been serving me (therapeutically, aesthetically and inspirationally) and I get to reciprocate that energy through a more consciously free form approach, resulting in a freeing cycle of spontaneous and limitless creation.”
Homeless with a Roof
A self-portrait about my 10-year journey away from home. Initially as a preadolescent, then transitioning to early adulthood striving to find a sense of belonging at University. Returning home with a feeling of estrangement from what used to be home. Lastly, the experience of feeling lost in a new city, during the 2021 lockdown, attempting to build by independence without a sense of security and certainty.
Experimenting with distortion added to the already moving image.
Androjinny is a self-portrait, homemade short film and my act of gratitude to all aspects of the journey of appreciating & disambiguating my androgynous identity, masculinity and all that comes with it; From feeling my own sexuality to fashion expression or drag: it’s all me, all real & all here for me to revel in with no learned shame following me along the way (anymore).
Holy Inversions (Intro)
Introduction to a project experimenting with sounds paired with found imagery (from my camera roll).
Eliana is an Afro-Luso audiovisual freelance artist. Exploring identity and journeys documented through, photography, video, music & sound production, poetry.
The names would be abbreviated as “Isabel” (Isabel DIERINGER) and “Eliana” (Eliana DAVYES BERNARDO).
Isabel: How did you organise your work and life during the pandemic?
Eliana: I really didn’t! At the beginning, I completely abandoned the concept of scheduling/organising work, and what I at one point thought was a mishap, I now see it as one of the best unintentional blessings.
Thanks to this, as time went by, I adapted spontaneity as the driving force of my creative energy and productivity, essentially approaching art with a child-like standpoint: exploring with a natural impulsive flow, guided by my perception of reality and authentic curiosity.
And I suppose a lot of the organisation intentionally applied to my daily life was dedicated to releasing my old perceptions of normality and creating a new one, given the back and forth of lockdowns, tiers, flying home, back to the UK for an exhibition, work, then moving to London, and back home.
There was a genuine need to direct extra efforts into meticulous life organisation and conscious dedication to routine, as a means to maintaining my health (in all aspects of the word), in order to keep creating and finding a sense of direction and certainty during the pandemic.
Isabel: What is different from before the pandemic?
Eliana: Mainly that there’s a daily internal conflict that I get to actively explore and work on, which dwells in personal artistic sensibilities.
Personally, before the pandemic, I was making significant progress managing my anxiety and depersonalization like symptoms and as a result, this progress created some momentum in achieving certain goals.
A year on since the beginning of the pandemic, I find myself expecting a different, deeper sense of helplessness in those fragilities. A year on since the beginning of the pandemic, I find myself experiencing a different, deeper sense of helplessness in those fragilities. However, being self-compassionate enough to consult professional help as a means to continue that progress has certainly been an empowering self-care act, directly impacting and enabling more artistic stimulation, exploring and vulnerability allowing to create and conceptualise more meaningful and authentic work.
Isabel: What is the biggest change you have gone through or found? In other words, what is your Covid-pivot?
Eliana: Definitely seeing an artistic identity form naturally allowing that process to reveal itself, rather than forcing it or attempting to create for the sake of creating.
This also led me to the understanding that art, in its entirety has been serving (therapeutically, aesthetically and inspirationally) and I get to reciprocate that energy through a more consciously free approach, resulting in a freeing cycle of spontaneous and limitless creating.
As a former constant people-pleaser, in all honestly, my covid-pivot, is letting go of the concept and concern of making “good” art, into simply allowing it to be.
Isabel: What is your most proud creating since the pandemic started?
Eliana: In the midst of a lot of self-reflective pieces “Homeless with a Roof” is definitely the most meaningful and encapsulating creating to date.
Isabel: When did you start this project/artwork?
Eliana: The artwork came to mind and creating mid-March and was transformed and finalised in late March.
Isabel: What inspired you to embark on this project/start creating this artwork?
Eliana: It started as a therapeutic coping tool, initially as a drawing and then out of curiosity it turned into a painting.
Isabel: What does this artwork mean to you?
Eliana: This is not only one of my first ever paintings, it’s also a self-portrait & narrative of the last 10 years of my life. Showing my separation from home, family and country, amounting in the destruction of my formative sense of belonging, therefore a sense of home.
Having been in Halifax, Nottingham, Manchester, London and then recently back to the country I was born and raised in, now as an adult, feeling estranged to my surroundings and family dynamic, this artwork is representative of my 10-year-old journey of detachment from my roots and reconciliation with the feeling of no longer having a home, yet always having a roof over my head.
Isabel: Has the pandemic had an impact on your work/work plan? (Was there any change in your thinking focus?)
Eliana: The pandemic had a positive impact on how I work yet it negatively impacted my work plans outside my freelance work.
In 2019 I began working on an artistic collective with my partner, and we have made great progress with achieving our founding goals through creating a safe and free expression environment for black, Asian, Latino, and QTIPOC artists to share their creation/voices. With the pandemic and its consequences on productivity, we’ve had to change our work plan to release work that’s been in the making when the time is right.
Isabel: If this applies, is there any funding for freelancers or artists in your city or in your country?
Eliana: Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any funding for freelancers in my city but it’s something I’m open to looking into.
Isabel: Have your feelings about art now hanged from your first encounters with it, or rather before the pandemic？ If so, how?
Eliana: Earlier, I mentioned a few aspects of the changes regarding my feelings about art; mostly its role in my life has completely shifted from just a powerful culture-shaping & people unifying tool to purposeful devotion that I get to serve for higher motives bigger than myself or my creations, and somehow the sentiment returns and cycles back to serve me as a form of therapy, inspiration to be better, and a magnifier of aesthetically stimulation or my perception of beauty.
Simultaneously, slightly contrary yet complementary to my former approach and number 1 rule: to uphold unconventionality in every creation in order to cultivate listlessness. I’ve now come to practice a child-like approach that often heavily relies on unconventional thought based experimentation, spontaneous impulse, and free exploration, which results in more natural and liberating cultivation of limitlessness.
Isabel: Do you think the arts will mostly remain/move online after the pandemic?
Eliana: There’s a possibility that this will happen for the first post-pandemic phases, however, I don’t think that’ll be the case, seen as people have been confined and itching to go outside to experience life in a social setting again.
I’m positive that for the majority of people who interacted with art in person, whether as a passion, hobby, family days out, date, friend hangout, artists, etc. they’ll be the reason art will be back in galleries, exhibits and other art venues.
Isabel: How do you know to see the relationship between technology and art?
Eliana: It’s definitely more symbiotic by the day. Unfortunately, this is a naturally biased relationship, and as technology is understood to have hereditary bias it also ends up amplifying the elitist aspects and forms of creativity.
While this relationship tends to autonomously highlight content that’s currently trending (which can sometimes be triggering/distressing to viewers) and often neglects dying art forms, this is also generating a wide wave of creators able to support themselves and innovate within their crafts in their own right, without relying on third parties or other people to get their art out there, which gives them a platform to inspire and encourage people to invest in their own passions, and that’s a crucial positive result from the relationship between technology and art.
Host: Isabel DIERINGER
Contact Person: Isabel DIERINGER
Planner: Isabel DIERINGER
Text: Isabel DIERINGER
Translator: Jiaqi GAO
Proofreading: Calum BAIRD