Deja Belardo is a multi-media painter and muralist from St. Croix, V.I. Using acrylic paint for its vibrancy and collage as a metaphor for bringing people together, their work challenges perception and subjectivity. Best described as visual journalism, Deja’s work is shaped by their political science background and exploration of color theory. In their paintings, Belardo sees the multi-media use of textiles, text, and printmaking as a direct reference to the interconnectedness of human experience. Their work explores the medium of painting, through both figurative and abstraction as a method of challenging the way people connect, especially at cross sections of intersectional identity.
As a visual artist, Expressions of Freedom means using my tools and gifts as a painter to tell stories of people who have been exploited and forgotten in our society. The quote in the painting “I am: Already Exalted”- “I was born of a black woman; I have the gift of God" is inspired by the disproportionate and high rate of maternal mortality of African American women. Black women are the most oppressed group in the United States, so the halo behind the subject is meant to challenge the lack of representation of black women as holy figures in the art historical canon.