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Tschabalala Self

°1990, New York (US) – lives and works in New Haven (US)

Tschabalala Self’s current body of work is concerned with the iconographic significance of the Black female body in contemporary culture. Her work explores the emotional, physical and psychological impact of the Black female body as icon, and is primarily devoted to examining the intersectionality of race, gender and sexualty. Collective fantasies surround the Black body, and have created a cultural niche in which exists our contemporary understanding of Black femininity. Self’s practice is dedicated to naming this phenomenon.

The fantasies and attitudes surrounding the Black female body are both accepted and rejected within her practice, and through this disorientation, new possibilities arise. Tschabalala Self is 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.

Tschabalala Self aspires to hold space and create a cultural vacuum in which these bodies can exist for their own pleasure and self-realization. Free of the other’s assertions and the othering gaze. She hopes to correct misconceptions propagated within and projected upon the Black body. Multiplicity and possibility are essential to her practice and general philosophy. Self’s subjects are fully aware of their conspicuousness and are unmoved by their viewers. Their role is not to show, explain, or perform but rather “to be.” In being, their presence is acknowledged and their significance felt. Tschabalala Self’s project is committed to this exchange, for her own edification and for the edification of those who resemble her.

(courtesy of the artist)

Tschabalala Self is represented by the following galleries;
click through to discover more of her work.

Pilar Corrias, London 

T-293, Rome 

Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York 

You can also see plenty more of Tschabalala Self’s work on her own website

works by Tschabalala Self