Profile: Tschabalala Self (1990-)

 

Tschabalala Self  is an American artist best known for her depictions of Black female figures using paint, fabric, and discarded pieces of her previous works. Though she uses mixed media, all of her works are on canvas and employ a “painting language.” Inspired by works done by an African-American artist, Romare Bearden, Tschabalala Self creates collages of various items that she has collected over time and sews them together to depict black female bodies that “defy the narrow spaces in which they are forced to exist. , which she derives from the history behind the African-American struggle and oppression in society. Self reclaims the black female body and portrays them to be free of stereotypes without having to fear being punished. Her goal is to “create alternative narratives around the black body”. Not only does Self’s work convey her own personal history, the method in which she uses in creating her work also has a history as well. African-Americans have a long history of using fabric and textiles to create art. The use of different fabrics to produce things, such as quilts, has become a part of the black culture. Much of Self’s work uses elements from this culture to construct quilt-like portraits. Self has been named to Forbes “30 Under 30 List”.  She has also been recognized as a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant recipient.

 

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Career

Self’s first solo show was in 2015 at Schur-Narula in Berlin. In a review of a solo show at Thierry Goldberg gallery in New York in 2016, The New York Times declared, “Ms. Self’s work has great promise, which she is developing. Peter Schjeldahl compared her piece at the New Museum’s 2017 “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” to the works of Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning. Self’s work has also been featured in a solo exhibition at the Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art in London. Self’s work is in the permanent collection of Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California; Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, Florida; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Florida, and the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection.

Self’s first solo show was in 2015 at Schur-Narula in Berlin . In a review of a solo show at Thierry Goldberg gallery in New York in 2016, The New York Times declared, “Ms. Self’s work has great promise, which she is developing.” Peter Schjeldahl compared her piece at the New Museum’s 2017 “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” to the works of Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning.  Self’s work has also been featured in a solo exhibition at the Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art in London. Self’s work is in the permanent collection of Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California; Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, Florida; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Florida, and the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection.

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