Juana Elena Diz is the prototypical, empowered female artist. In 1925, she was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she developed her artistic skills at the School of Fine Arts Manuel Belgrano. As a master painter, engraver, and ceramist, Diz felt compelled to use her artistic ability to represent her gender and dismantle the patriarchy. Her work frequently depicted men and women performing identical tasks, in order to visually represent equality. Her art is a reflection of her endearing spirit, as she had to overcome many obstacles in her life.
In 1959, artists Carlos Sessano, Espirilo Bute, Ricardo Carpani, Juan Manuel Sanchez, and Pascual Di Bianco founded the Spartacus Movement. Diz would join them a year later – becoming the only woman to have ever been a member. The artists belonging to the Spartacus Movement were the first to create art that reflected the realities of the working class and peasants in Argentina. Diz’s work captured the tender aspects of humanity with curvaceous lines and dark hues, serving as a counterbalance to the darker themes depicted by her male contemporaries. She remained an active member of the Spartacus Movement until the group disbanded in 1968.
In the 1970s, Argentina fell victim to a devastating military regime. Many citizens disappeared, and the arts and culture languished. Diz and her then-husband, Juan Sanchez (also previously a member of the Spartacus Movement), fled to Europe, where they settled in the Balearic Islands in 1975. Her work softened during this period, with bold colors and shapes giving way to earthy hues and delicate contours, yet her feminist ideals would nevertheless remain strong themes in her work.
In 1976, Diz returned to Argentina but vanished shortly after her return. Her disappearance remains a mystery to this day.
Diz’s work has been displayed internationally in Italy, Spain, the USA, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Lebanon, Brazil, Canada and her native Argentina.