Dajana Džafo was born in 1988 in Split. After graduating from the School of Fine Arts in Split, she enrolled in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies in Split, and in 2013 she obtained the title of Bachelor of Art History and Philosophy. In the same year, she enrolled at the Arts Academy in Split, where she graduated in 2019 with the title of Master of Visual Culture and Fine Arts with a specialization in graphic arts, in the class of Professor Edvin Dragičević. Since 2019, she is a member of the Croatian Association of Visual Artists. She is the manager of several art projects and workshops. So far, she has realized one solo exhibited and participated in several group exhibitions.
It’s an exceptional joy and honor to have the opportunity to follow someone’s artistic development through the years – I’d dare say since the beginning of their efforts – and to write a preface to one of their first solo exhibitions, especially when that same development affected my own understanding of art and paved the way for my own activities. Dajana has been a close friend of mine for the last fifteen years. Considering that I have only been dealing with this profession for the last few years, you will understand the emotional importance of this collaboration.
Dajana Džafo is an artist who uses graphic art as a medium for her expression. She got interested in graphic art during her studies at the Art Academy in Split. This extremely complex and demanding skill takes a lot of time and dedication, but it provides much space for experiment, modification and is in some ways uncertain, which attracted the author most when she began to work with it. The Natural Environment exhibition is part of her thesis and it consists of a series of prints made by combining contemporary and traditional graphic techniques, divided into two parts.
Exploring the space that surrounds us was the starting point for conceiving this work. The natural environment, by definition, is the set of all living and non-living beings that exist in a natural habitat. What particularly fascinates and attracts the author is the space devoid of human influence and any aesthetic, neglected landscapes, inanimate nature and emptiness, a sort of a tabula rasa, which she sees as the basis for creative expression and upgrading. In the first part we find backgrounds with motifs from the flora, fauna and everyday life, while architectural representations are emphasized in the second part.
The work process itself went through several stages: the first was collecting photographs of “empty” spaces. Through the research, she came up with NASA’s photos of the Moon’s surface that she decided to use as a background. In the next phase, she digitally processed and modified some of these photographs and then inserted drawings into them. These drawings are digitally sketched and styled. Later, these processed photographs were UV-printed upon graphic plates, which were then manually processed by the artist with the classic graphic technique of aquatint. Demand, precision, and time-consuming commitment are concepts that can be used to describe graphic art as a practice, while purity and simplicity give value and beauty to the final product. Dajana uses this traditional artistic discipline skillfully and — through experimentation — successfully transforms her ideas and artistic concepts into artworks.