It is an honor to exhibit the work of Dimelza Broche as part of the BE WELL exhibition, which just opened at Yellow House. Broche is a Jacksonville-based Cuban-born artist, who earned her BFA from the University of North Florida, where she is currently an adjunct Drawing professor, and her MFA at University of Georgia. She is also an alum of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville.
Working in a wide variety of media, Broche explores her experience with the genetic illness Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which makes her bones especially fragile and requires her to use a wheelchair. During her childhood in Cuba, often relegated to her home due to her disability, Broche turned to art as a means of expression and healing.
Today Broche paints to “replicate the strange and luscious worlds inside my head. Worlds that are inhabited by body parts which somehow function as anatomical votives. The body parts and sometimes animals are a direct representation of my broken body…they are the places I escape to inside my head. Places that I go to in order to heal myself.”
In her works she directly confronts false ideals. “By casting parts of my body in plaster, I present the viewers with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the disabled figure, challenging them to reconsider not just beauty standards but what is normal in a society which places value on physical appearance,” Broche explains. “This allows the viewer to look at the disabled body without feeling the need to censure themselves on behalf of interpersonal courtesy. Each work signifies the beauty and worth of the problem body, but above all, it brings visibility to a figure usually deemed unattractive.”
Broche’s sculptures and her paintings are often punctuated with pearls and embroidery. “These are materials that have served a purpose in the representation of women, either to enhance beauty or to show a woman’s domestic and social status. I want to bring forth the history of women in a society often ruled by men and by the standards of beauty, set through the years, which have brought discomfort to women who do not attain those standards.”
Dimelza’s art is deeply moving and to be in conversation with her is always an intense experience, marked by humor, an infectious joy for art and life, and thoughtful musings on the wider world and our places in it. I have had the pleasure of knowing Dimelza for about a decade and find her deep explorations of the limitations of our physical presence and the expansive possibilities of our inner worlds to be inspiring, challenging, and personally motivating.
Her work and the ways she moves through this world encourage the rest of us to see the power and meaning of her life as an immigrant, an artist, an educator, and a woman with disabilities. Though she speaks often of how art is a tool for healing herself, Dimelza provides a portal for healing for the rest of us.
We both hope you will find respite and room for reflection in Dimelza’s work, as well as the art created by all who are part of the BE WELL exhibition at Yellow House.
Broche’s work has been exhibited at the Cummer Museum (Jacksonville), Era Contemporary (Philadelphia), Marcia Wood Gallery (Atlanta), Manifest (Cincinnati), Crealde School of Art (Winter Park, FL), and the Kennedy Center (Washington DC).
Follow Dimelza Broche on instagram @dimelzabrocheart. See Broche’s work at Yellow House until November 19. The space is open Wednesdays 12-7pm and Saturdays 11am-2pm.
Call to schedule a visit outside these hours at 904.704.5216 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.