Devyn Dais in from of her work, including “Flower Picking.” (Devyn Dais)

“I ask God to pour his peace into me as I paint and that it would overflow into the artwork,” says 23-year-old Philadelphia-based artist Devyn Dais about her approach to artmaking. 

Dais, who grew up in Bensalem, a suburb bordering Northeast Philadelphia, says she felt isolated as a Black girl in a predominantly white area. She says she struggled with body image and not being “skinny” like her peers. 

But she eventually found comfort and empowerment in her spirituality and how she connects it to nature.

In many of Dais’ paintings, she depicts Black women in nature since she is an avid nature lover and hiker.

Germantown neighbors and other Philadelphians will have a chance to interact with her work when she joins other artists for the fourth Germantown Art & Sound show, which happens quarterly.

The Germantown Art & Sound Show will be at Our House Culture Center on Friday, April 26, 2024. 

In one painting, “Flower Picking,” which will be featured, a girl holds a pink flower. Dais said she wanted this image to connect femininity and nature, as the girl is nude with sagging breasts, a big belly, feet, and asymmetrical curves. 

“Flower Picking.” (Devyn Dais)

She says much of her art mimics “shapes of nature,” depicting women who are comfortable in their bodies even though they do not fit societal beauty standards—reflections of her body positivity journey.

Dais points out how social media and pop culture dictate an ever-changing beauty standard and how the mainstream media, especially, “calls all of us out of nature.” 

She finds people’s attachment to their phones and social media to be “damaging.” Her art is her means of getting out of that spiral of disconnect from reality, and she hopes others will emotionally connect to her work.

“One girl was crying from my work,” she recounts when she was a vendor selling prints of her work at a pop-up market. “I was in shock, genuinely, that one of my drawings could make someone cry, and it was like a good cry.”

Another piece to come at Germantown Art & Sound, “In The Grass,” was initially painted for her art class at Temple University, where she’ll graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Art Education this May.

The mixed-media painting shows a brown-skinned girl who has a flower in lieu of a head. The girl’s body is outdoors in motion, surrounded by scribbles of florals and bugs.

“In the Grass.” (Devyn Dais)

Dais said her art shows the importance of reclaiming the peace and joy of nature, which she says is often reduced to being a “white people thing.”

“Black women have always been told that that’s not for us,” she says. “There’s healing power in nature, and every Black woman should access it as soon as possible.”

Germantown Art & Sound will feature Dais’s work and the work of four other artists. Refreshments, live music, and a vendor will accompany the featured artists. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. 

To experience Dais’ work, you can RSVP using Eventbrite. The event is free, but a donation of $10 is suggested. You can see more of Dais’ work at @devyndaisart on Instagram.