Lisa Ijeoma

The Dreamer



100% Cotton, hand-woven

50 x 22 cm

Edition of 7 copies, signed and numbered by the artist

In stock

This edition is published by artlead

Pick up at / ships in 5 to 10 business days from Brussels (BE)

about this work

Lisa Ijeoma’s The Dreamer relates to a series of patchworks she made for Museumplein – our new public project in collaboration with (and in front of) S.MA.K., Ghent. The images she created for this project are inspired by historical slave portraits. In 1850, Harvard scientist Louis Agassiz commissioned photographer Joseph Zealy to take individual portraits of African American slaves. Agassiz was a prominent advocate of racial segregation and white supremacy. The portraits were part of a study aimed at proving that different races have different origins. This (now debunked) polygenic theory was used in 19th-century America to justify slavery.

The photos are a haunting historical document that painfully confronts us with how inhumane people of color have been treated. Lisa Ijeoma appropriated these Agassiz-Zealy portraits and lovingly translated some of them, like Renty and Dalia, into textile patchworks. The artist retains the stylized matting with which the portraits were originally framed, as well as the subjects’ postures. However, Ijeoma consistently adds a different floral motif to each one, framing the figures. At Museumplein, Ijeoma flanks these portraits with text collages in which the depicted figures demand to be seen and heard. For The Dreamer, Ijeoma revisited her portrait of Renty, translating his likeness to a hand-woven tapisserie.

about Lisa Ijeoma

Lisa Ijeoma’s intricate hand-sewn patchworks are part of an ongoing research on her intersectional identity. In an attempt to challenge historical stereotypes, objectification, and exploitation of the black female body, her patchworks portray both universal and personal experiences.

Born in Belgium with Nigerian roots, her figurative compositions take the viewer through imaginary landscapes often veiled in a looming blue hue. Her collages may depict as particularly calm or peaceful, their backstory is usually not. Beginning her career with a master’s in fine arts painting, she felt the need for a broader spectrum of media to voice her experiences and finished her second masters in Textile design not long after.

Her earliest textile works were conceived during the isolating lockdowns in 2019 and the aftermath of the murder on George Floyd, capturing nightscapes relating to police violence. Often referencing scenes and experiences of fear and trauma, she uses the repetitive motion of hand sowing in a healing manner.

After receiving her degree, she also started researching handwoven Jacquard as a way to illustrate gendered labor in a social-political context, where the repetitive movement becomes a pretext for a deeper understanding of the construction of trauma, identity, questions around gender stereotypes and racial prejudice.


Stay up to date