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ABOUT TIYA CANIEL
(the person)

visual artist | creative

Tiya Caniel sitting and smiling, wearing an orange dress and jewelry. Her artwork is in the background.

Peace, peace, peace...

My name is Tiya (pronounced Tee-yah) and I am a human being who identifies as a Black, queer woman. I am a North Carolina-based creative who thrives when I am well-fed, loved, rested, and connected with my joy.

Artist Statement

I create to flourish...

My body of work combines mixed media, collage, painting, jewelry design, drawing, photography, and original writing to explore themes of Black liberation, joy, cultivating community, ancestral veneration, and yogic philosophy. Sometimes one may find a bit of inquiry related to Afro-futurism and Afro-surrealism as well. The bulk of my work is in abstraction.

Because my creative practice is highly intuitive and driven by joy, I tend to flow between different mediums in my work. Having freedom to explore many mediums is paramount to the process. I have found great joy in working with a combination of paint, ink, pastels, hand-painted paper strips/cutouts/scraps, watercolor, fabric and textiles, and now wood. My artistic influences include yoga teachings and philosophy, expressions of Black joy, nature, and the practice of honoring my loved ones and ancestors. I am also highly influenced by artists like Kelley Nicole Palmer, Jasiatic Anderson, CHDW!CK, Yvette Miller, Bunny Gregory, Rosi Tonaco, Bree Stallings, Michael Maxwell, Monique Luck, Olalekan Jeyifous, and Roberta Boffo. My Dreamscapes and Walking Meditations feature continuous line drawings and markings that meander through colorful backgrounds. The intention behind these pieces is to invite the viewer to expand their scope of what is possible, and to find the beginning of the line and slowly follow it with their eyes, while tuning into their breath and concentrating only on the line. Maybe they notice some of the shapes the line creates as they “walk” along and begin to feel more grounded and attuned to self.

My "Halima" pieces are inspired by ancestral veneration. The Halima works also explore the idea of creating folklore that centers Black women/femme folks as otherworldly beings, and makes space for another story to be explored regarding their/our lives and what happens when we transition from this realm. 

These works are informed by my meditation practice, my sacred self-love practice, my love for my family and Black women and femmes, and my love for spending time in gardens and other green spaces like forests, fields, and meadows. At the root of my work as an artist are JOY and LIBERATION. They can be found in my use of bright colors, the flow between mediums and art forms, and hopefully the feelings my work incites in others. I aspire to incite feelings of joy, curiosity, intrigue, self-expression, and LIBERATION through my works.

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