My name is Joanathan Bessaci. I am a local Washington D.C. artist of French origin. I emigrated to the District from France, where I was born and grew up. I currently work with antique maps (from roughly 1920 to 1970) which I use because I like their color and texture but also because for me, they symbolize the roads people travel and their journeys and struggles for a better life. My maternal grandmother emigrated to France from Vietnam and my paternal grandfather emigrated to France from Kabylia (Northern Algeria). I came to Washington D.C. in 2016.
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I was drawn to maps as my medium because I have been surrounded by objects like them since I was a child. Both my father and grandfather have stands in Lyon’s largest flea market and I spent long hours there as a child and adolescent interacting with Lyon’s diverse populations.
As an immigrant working in Washington D.C., I bring a unique multicultural perspective to projects. I have shown my cut-outs at galleries, public art fairs and community centers and have volunteered at my children’s schools to promote art with the younger population.
My work presently consists of cutting portraits and other images into several maps and layering them to create depth and texture with the geographic specific sites of each map. I have worked on a wide range of themes including portraits, sports figures, dancers, and American icons.