A’Driane Nieves is a USAF disabled veteran, multi-disciplinary abstract artist, activist, and speaker with a heart for serving others and social good. She is a mental health advocate living with bipolar disorder, and runs an online platform and mental health support group for women of color called Tessera Collective. In 2018, she opened Tessera Arts Collective, an arts nonprofit serving women identifying & non-binary artists of color in the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond that currently operates a storefront studio & gallery space in North Philly. She believes that creating and viewing visual art that addresses difficult topics can serve as a catalyst for personal growth & social change while also empowering WOC artists to speak their truths. She pushes womxn to transform the brokenness in their lives into power and beauty, and works to amplify the voices and experiences of those marked as Other in society. A’Driane lives in New Jersey with her robotics-loving husband and three neurodivergent boys.
My work is not representative of the external; rather about the impact of the external on our identities. It is about our Black bodies, experiences, traumas & triumphs, healing, & identities from an internal perspective. Each piece is a part of the body, psyche, and soul turned inside out; the intimate recesses, fault lines, eroded sediment, gravity wells, multitudes, & universes we contain as we navigate a society that judges us by what can be seen with the eye.
If figurative, portrait, & other representative visual works of art are the organs, muscles & bones…then abstract is the marrow, the synovial fluid, the neural pathways, the central nervous system, the vitreous body through which we view and process experience. I use raw emotions, expressive marks, gestural lines, and abstract form to give name to time and place as well as the “how” and “what”. Doing so allows for an intimate, vulnerable, and honest examination of what shapes our identities over the course of our lives and drives our behaviors; conditioned and otherwise. It all comes from an intuitive, spiritual place that draws upon my own experiences from childhood to present. I have known displacement, disembodiment, and disassociation intimately as an individual, and our collective experience with each across the diaspora is encoded in my DNA.
As a survivor of abuse, painting is an excavation of everything I hid in my mind and body for survival during childhood. Part of healing from trauma is allowing it to move to the surface of our consciousness and being so it can be released; using expressive marks and gestures along with striking and moving across the surface of a canvas while painting enables my body to accomplish this. I rely on abstract, figurative forms and composition to communicate how the biological and emotional processes of adaptation, recovery, and transformation exist within us as we experience living. I examine pain and investigate its impact within the body & psyche, but also celebrate the resiliency, joy, and transformation that can occur in spite of it in my paintings because I believe we are far more than just our sufferings.
Associate of Arts (AA), 2011
The Other Art Fair Los Angeles 2019
GirlBoss Rally 2019
The Other Art Fair Brooklyn 2017
2019 “Perfecting the Journey”, Girlboss Rally, Los Angeles, CA
2019 “Her Ritual”, Goat Farm Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
2019 Blavity & 21 Ninety Summit 21, Atlanta, GA
2018 Regional finalist, Bombay Sapphire’s 2018 Artisan Series
(November 2017) The Other Art Fair, Brooklyn Expo Center, NY
(May-July 2017) "WOMEN", Rare Device, San Francisco, California
(November 2016) "AWAKEN: Exploring White Fragility & Criminal (In)Justice", Dibden Center for the Arts, Johnson State College, Vermont
(August-September 2016) "Vote Your Subconscious", Works! San Jose member exhibition