Yani de Sousa

Artist Biography

The Arts have always been around me, whether it was music, performing arts, or painting. I always knew I had a love for it all, from a very young age. I was born in Panama City, Panama, in 1970. I am a daughter to two amazing parents, a sister to seven older siblings, a mother to three wonderful adult children, and a partner to an amazing man that has always supported me in whatever I wanted to pursue in life. The road that was laid out for me has not always been an easy one. Nevertheless, I am happy to be here and be who I have become.

I arrived in New York City at the young age of nine with my mother, who was in search of providing a better life for her family. I never considered myself poor or underprivileged because my mother and father made sure that we had what we needed. My father was from a little island called Madeira in Portugal. He was a fisherman by trade and traveled throughout the world. When my father passed away in 1999, he departed at the young age of 64 from a stroke. I can say, it really hit me hard when I lost him. I felt I did not spend enough time with him, specially as a young child - I always felt like he was away fishing.

When I returned to Panama in 2011, I was shooting with a Canon point and shoot camera. So, I treated my visit as if I was a tourist. I took lots of pictures. After earning my Bachelor of Science in Business Management, I felt like something was missing. I looked back at the images that I had taken during my visit to Panama and the memories that my dad would capture on film during his many trips around the world. This led me to enroll in the Master of Fine Arts in Photography program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco by 2013. It has been one of the best decisions that I have made and every day I feel, I am honoring my parents by creating a thesis project that they would be very proud of.