Nadiya I. Nacorda

Nadiya Imani Loyisa Ntlabati Nacorda is a Blasian artist, photographer and Taurus currently living and working in Syracuse, NY. She was born in Detroit, MI to a Filipinx immigrant father and a Xhosa mother. Throughout the year, she travels around the country photographing her immediate family, as well as her family abroad. Her work heavily draws from notions of intimacy, affection, family, displacement, secrecy, and generational trauma within the context of Black and POC immigrant-American family life.

Nadiya received her BFA in Photography & Film and a minor in Spanish from VCU Arts in Richmond, VA. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Art Photography at Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. Her work has been exhibited at the Midwest Center for Photography, the Detroit Public Library art gallery, and Candela Books + Gallery in Richmond, VA. She is also a 2019 finalist of the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward competition.

A special kind of double

“A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves – a special kind of double.”

-Toni Morrison

A special kind of double is an ongoing photo-based project exploring themes of intimacy, play, and innocence within the context of Black sibling bonds. As the eldest child, my work celebrates the closeness I’ve fostered with my five younger siblings. Reinforced by the firm boundary between adult and child that existed in our family, my siblings and I responded by creating our own world with its own autonomy and power. Even now, our relationships still serve as an important source of refuge and solidarity as we navigate Black life in America.

For this project, I work with my two youngest siblings, Thandi, 13 and Khaya, 15. Images are either spontaneously captured while spending time together or intentionally constructed. Through this process, I am reimagining and reconstructing my own youth while documenting theirs. I collaborate with my siblings by incorporating their ideas for photographs and welcoming their feedback.

Photos of my sister and brother in personal and public spaces function to visualize the foundation of their worlds. Portraits of them alone honor their individual identities and personalities, while those featuring them together in activities of play or moments of touch speak to their unique connection and the intimate bond they share. Still lives of handwritten text and landscapes of playgrounds reference childhood with a sense of nostalgia and longing.

To view more of Nadiya I. Nacorda’s work please visit her website.