Tschabalala Self is an American artist, who became known for her use of paint, fabric and discarded pieces of her previous works to depict black female figures. In her works, she tries to reclaim the black female body and portray them to be free of stereotypes. Self creates collages out of various things, which she has collected during her lifetime. Besides, her work also encompasses video, sculpture and other media.

Self‘s figurative work primarily focuses on the black woman and the way black bodies inhabit and defy the narrow spaces, in which they are often forced to exist. Her figures, or “avatars”, as she often calls them, are made with mixed media materials, including acrylic, silks, and furs, that, when affixed to a stretched canvas, create waves and ripples, that mimic movement. This motion is a necessary meditation in Self‘s subjects and her own reality, as she defines confinement as the genesis story of her enslaved ancestors. This history informs Self‘s insistence, that her creations depict the most basic right of humanity, that rests just beyond the grasp of many black people – the ability to move freely without fear of punishment.

The Function is one of her most notable works that sheds light on the social aspect of the art piece and explains the abstract nature of the figure and its background.

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

Initially, we wanted not just tell you about this cool artist but also invite to her exhibition at The Institute of Contemporary Art. But Covid-19… As you can understand, another great show cancelled. But you can still enjoy Tschabalala Self’s fantastic works on our website, prabook.com. Here you can learn more about the artist herself, as well.

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