My Masterpiece is Titled ‘Daria Fisher’
By Daria Fisher, Dance ’23
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice. You wouldn’t believe how many times this was said to me. No matter what my age. Personally, I got angry until I noticed the true meaning. My skin is the first thing you see, so why not use it.
Yes Ma’am/Sir/People, I use my ancestral influence in my art. Art is not just about the story you tell. Art shouldn’t be forced to always have an expected story. Art should be able to stand alone and the different influences that came during the process. This is when I decided to create “Scratch Paper.”
It was a dance about creation and what you saw/experience in the moment. “Scratch Paper” is the beginning of all creation. It is the one thing that connects each and every art discipline. I created this piece during senior year of high school. This was the first dance I created that completely directed itself. The idea first started as a fever dream of line paper and the different uses. I went into the process with a lot of research on paper and the different uses. I started playing with paper and directing my dancers to move as if they were a ball of paper thrown across the room. I got the idea to have the dancer use the audience as their paper. I also thought of the constant destruction of an idea written on a piece of paper.
After finalizing the dance, I noticed I needed more. I then began to realize that I wanted new words to give my dancers. I asked one person from each art discipline to sit in on my rehearsal. I prompted them to write down words or phrases they got from watching. Many of them exemplified how they felt full—full as in many different thoughts came at once. The one similar thread from the six people was it had an animalistic quality. I feel this idea was influenced by the music which was a mix of crumbled paper ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) and African beats.
With these ideas I had to finish my piece and left it up to the dancers to perform, but the prompt is to talk about my masterpiece. I can say “Scratch Paper” is the one project that I love explaining to people. It is not the project I am most proud of. My true masterpiece continues to change every millisecond. My masterpiece is titled Daria Fisher. It is about an African American female who continues to abstractly define herself as a dancer/artist. It’s the Southern girl who had to learn to stand up for herself in high school. The same one who had to learn to say no.
My last two years of high school were rocky. I had to be okay with things I could never think of, but allowing myself to dive deeper into my art senior year was such a turning point mentally and physically. My teacher would make comments on my hair and skin tone that were very offensive. I tried reaching out to my classmates, many times, to make sure I was not overreacting. Now, I realize that if something is hurting you then it is a problem. Overreacting should not be a thing. I let things like this go and allowed myself to focus on my art.
“Scratch Paper” signifies these changes. It was the point in my life where I truly rewrote my story. How are things coming to life? This was a question that I asked myself a lot. Maybe this is where the fever dream “Scratch Paper” came to life. My masterpiece is being scripted in my words and in my eyes.
Daria Fisher is a 20-year-old African American dancer from Jackson, Mississippi. Daria started her dance training very late. Her life motto is “find what you love, love what you do, and the money will follow.”
Images courtesy of Daria Fisher.
Interested in sharing a “My Masterpiece” story about a piece of work or project you’re most proud of? Use the submission form here. Submissions should be around 500 words or more, and pictures are always appreciated (with proper attribution and permission for use).