Nydia Blas is a visual artist living in Ithaca, New York with her husband and two children. She holds a B.S. from Ithaca College, and received her M.F.A. from Syracuse University in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. In the Fall of 2019 she will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Visual Culture at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Nydia was recently named “One TO Watch” in their 2019 talent issue. She is one of twelve participants for The World Press Photo Foundation’s 26th edition of the 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass. She is one of six selected talents of World Press’ 2018 6x6 Global Talent Program for North and Central America. She is a recipient of the 2018 Light Work grant. Sh has taught courses for the Image Text MFA program at Ithaca College and Syracuse University in the Department of Transmedia. She has completed artist residencies at Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and The Center for Photography at Woodstock. Her work has been featured in the book Mfon: A Journal of Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. Her work can be seen in the following print and online publications: The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Topic, Dazed and Confused Magazine, Strange Fire Collective, Lenscult, Yogurt Magazine, PDN, Fotografia Magazine, and more.
She uses photography, collage, video, and books to address matters of sexuality, intimacy, and her lived experience as a girl, woman, and mother. Blas delicately weaves stories concerning circumstance, value, and power and uses her work to create a physical and allegorical space presented through a Black feminine lens. The result is an environment that is dependent upon the belief that in order to maintain resiliency, a magical outlook is necessary. In this space, props function as extensions of the body, costumes as markers of identity, and gestures/actions reveal the performance, celebration, discovery and confrontation involved in reclaiming one's body for their own exploration, discovery and understanding.
She is recognized for her body of work entitled, The Girls Who Spun Gold, which is a collection of images that resulted from Girl Empowerment Group that Blas founded after observing a lack of space and community for teen girls of African descent in Ithaca, N.Y. Her goal was to create a space where an amazing group of girls she had developed relationships with felt valued, supported, and that filled in the blanks where their formal education did not serve them. Eventually their bonds were reproduced visually in the photographs that they worked to make together.
2016 Master of Fine Arts, Art Photography, Syracuse University, Syracuse N.Y.
2011 Bachelor of Science, Cinema and Photography, Ithaca College, Ithaca N.Y.
2018 “ Black Magic”, Corners Gallery, Ithaca, N.Y.
2018 “Whatever You Like”, Over The Influence, Los Angeles C.A.
2015 “The Girls That Spun Gold”, SALTQuarters, Syracuse N.Y.
2019 “Art in Ad Places”, New York, N.Y.
2019 “Radial Survey”, The Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, P.A.
2018 “VIGILANCE,STRUGGLE, PRIDE: THROUGH HER EYES”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia
2018 “ALTAR: Prayer, Ritual, Offerings”, Photoville, Brooklyn Bridge Park N.Y.
2018 “Into the Light”, Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York N.Y.
2018 The Wing, Brooklyn, N.Y. & Washington D.C.
2018 “VIGILANCE, STRUGGLE, PRIDE: THROUGH HER EYES”, Umetnostna galerija Maribor, Maribor, Slovenija
2017 "Albert Weisman Award Exhibition", Columbia College, Chicago I.L.
2017 "The Feeling is Mutual" Rangefinder Gallery, Chicago I.L.
2016 “The Trouble With Flesh” Light Work, Syracuse N.Y.
2016 “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” The George Washington Carver Museum Austin TX
2016 “The Girls Who Spun Gold” Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca N.Y.
2016 Syracuse University MFA Show, SU Art Galleries, Syracuse N.Y.
2016 “Physical Experience”, Spark, Syracuse N.Y.
2014 “Adjunct Appendix”, Light Work, Syracuse N.Y.
2016 The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, N.Y.
2015 Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Ithaca N.Y.
2019 Workshop, Teen Curators Program, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, N.Y.
2019 Artist Talk, MFON Photo Salon, Magnum Foundation, New York, N.Y.
2018 “Women’s Perspectives” Organ Vida International Photography Festival, Zagreb Croatia
2018 “We the Girls Who Spun Gold” Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
2017 "Women Picturing Revolution" LightField Festival, Hudson, N.Y.
2017 "Art is for Empathy" Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, Canada
2016 “The Girls Who Spun Gold” Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity Discussion Series, Ithaca College, Ithaca N.Y.
2016 “As Bad As I Wanna Be” Panel Discussion, Community Folk Art Center, Syracuse N.Y.
2019 One to Watch, British Journal of Photography
2019 Selected Participant, The World Press Photo Foundation 26th edition of the Joop Swart Masterclass
2018 Selected Talent, 6X6 Global Talent Program: North and Central America, World Press Photo
2018 Light Work Grant, Light Work, Syracuse N.Y.
2018 Specific Opportunity Stipend, Community Arts Partnership, Ithaca N.Y.
2016 PDN “The Look” Winner, Personal Work/Fine Art
2016 Best of Show, MFA Show, Department of Transmedia, Syracuse University, Syracuse N.Y.
2016 Creative Opportunity Grant, Syracuse University, Syracuse N.Y.
2019 British Journal of Photography, Talent Issue
2018 The New York Times Magazine, “Being Women: Poetry and Imagery”
2018 New York Magazine, “Rape at Rosie’s”
2018 The New York Times Magazine, “Tracy K. Smith”
2017 MFON Women Photographers of the African Diaspora
2017 PDN, September Issue
2016 Blue Library Vol 2: Conversations
2016 Editorial Magazine, Issue 16
2016 Oranbeg Press Interleave
2019 New York Times
2019 W Magazine
2019 Hyperallergic Magazine
2019 BuzzFeed News
2018 Women in Photography
2018 The Candid Frame #422
2017 Vogue, Online
2017 New York Times
2017 Yogurt Magazine
2016 Strange Fire Collective
2016 The Huffington Post
2016 Dazed and Confused Magazine
2016 Fotografia Magazine/ FotoFirst
2016 Streit House Space
Instructor, Image Text MFA Program Ithaca College, Ithaca N.Y.
Adjunct Professor, Syracuse University, Syracuse N.Y.
Instructional Assistant (TA), Syracuse University, Syracuse N.Y.
Executive Director, Southside Community Center, Inc. Ithaca, N.Y.
Visual Media Arts Director, Southside Community Center, Inc. Ithaca, N.Y.
Instructor, Photography and Literacy (PAL Project), Syracuse University/Syracuse City Schools, Syracuse N.Y.
Art Director, Community Unity Music Education Program, Ithaca N.Y.
Director/Creator, Girl Empowerment Group, Southside Community Center, Ithaca N.Y.
Cinematographer, William Kentridge “Triumphs and Laments” for Tevereterno, Rome, Italy.