Tschabalala Self: Black is beautiful
Tschabalala Self - Newcomer 02/2017

Tschabalala Self, 'Pieces of Me' (detail). 2015. Oil and acrylic on paper, 111.8 x 152.4 cm, 44 x 60 in. Courtesy of Friedman Collection. Photograph by Thomas Nelford.

Tschabalala Self, born 1990, New York based, “builds a singular style from the syncretic use of both painting and printmaking to explore ideas about the black female body”, writes ArtSy. The exaggerated biological characteristics of her figures reflect Self’s own experiences and cultural attitudes toward race and gender. “The fantasies and attitudes surrounding the Black female body are both accepted and rejected within my practice, and through this disorientation, new possibilities arise,” Self has said. “I am attempting to provide alternative, and perhaps fictional, explanations for the voyeuristic tendencies towards the gendered and racialized body; a body which is both exalted and abject.”
“Voyeurism, the act of watching and of being watched, is an important component in Self's work, which encourages a world of imagination, transformation and fantasising around a particular subject” says Ziba Ardalan, founder and chief curator of Parasol Unit Foundation in London. “Never imposing any vulnerability or sense of victimhood upon her characters, Self instead endows each of them with a positively pulsating confidence.Although based on a particular ethnicity, Self’s innovative works nonetheless speak universally of all humanity and its collective concerns” (Ardalan). Her work can be seen until march 12th at Parasol Unit Foundation in London, her first institutional exhibition in the UK. The artist is represented by Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York and Gallery T293, Naples.

Tschabalala Self, Carma, 2016, fabric, linen, flashe, acrylic, and pastel on canvas, 182.88 x 121.92 cm, T293, Naples, Italy

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