Diana Ejaita Italy/Nigeria, b. 1985
Diana Ejaita is an Italian-Nigerian artist based between Berlin, Germany and Lagos, Nigeria, who works in illustration and textile design.
Her work pays homage to her Nigerian origins, including its literature, art and textile traditions. Ejaita brings together influences from Europe and West Africa, mixing aesthetics and styles to examine her experience as an artist of the African Diaspora. Inspired by traditional handicraft, Ejaita often experiments with tactile processes and printing surfaces, including silkscreen, wood, Lino engraving, and hand and digital drawings.
As a child of migration, her work also centers on issues of colonial/postcolonial effects, racial and gender discrimination and identity research. Her illustrations are known for their contrasting areas of black and white, with soft patterns and textures that suggest the strength of femininity.
Diana Ejaita’s illustrations have been featured in numerous international publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Vogue, Financial Times and Monopol.
Her work has been featured on three covers of The New Yorker in 2019-2020.
“The themes that drive me are connected to Africa, my roots, race, black empowerment, animism and historical heritage, cultural loss through colonialism and migration, discrimination, religious control and cultural appropriation.”
- Diana Ejaita
Diana Ejaita was born in Cremona, Italy, from an Italian mother and a Nigerian father. Her family traveled often in her childhood, and she studied fine art in France and Germany. Her work is grounded in her experience as a child of migration and her international studies and travel. In addition to working as a visual artist, Ejaita created the fashion label WearYourMask in 2014, which explores her interest in African textiles and minimalist, handmade designs.
Recent exhibitions include Afro Futures: Fashion – Hair – Design at Berlin’s Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts); the Zurich Design Biennale; Concrete Limbo at Haus der Statistik (Berlin); the third edition of Miic (International Exhibition of Contemporary Illustration) in Galicia, Spain; and exhibitions at the University of Bielefeld (Germany), Kunst Gewerbe Museum (Berlin), and Appear (Hamburg).
Ejaita’s illustrations have appeared in numerous International publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Vogue, Financial Times, and Monopol. Her work has been featured on three covers of The New Yorker.
Her work has also been commissioned by corporate bodies such as Google, Apple and Coca Cola Nigeria. In 2019, Ejaita illustrated a Google doodle commemorating the 119th birthday of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, She has also presented several art workshops in Senegal. Nigeria and Germany.
Ejaita has completed artist residencies at Waaw in Saint-Louis, Senegal and the Arthouse Foundation in Lagos. Her project at the Arthouse Foundation in 2018 explored the writings of Nigerian author Amos Tutuola through silkscreen, sculpture and video. In 2019, Diana’s illustrations were exhibited at Art X Lagos, presented by Arthouse-The Space.
In Conversation With Diana Ejaita on Creating a Dialogue Between CulturesAfriquette
Diana Ejaita’s “A Family Blooms”Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, June 22, 2020
Diana Ejaita’s “Portrait of History”Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, January 13, 2020
Diana Ejaita’s “Iya Ni Wura (Mother Is Gold)”Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, May 6, 2019