Primarily concerned with the concept of the Black female body within contemporary culture, Self examines the confluence of race, gender and sexuality through a variety of forms and narratives in which each subject – or as she prefers, character – expresses an individually powerful identity.
In her bold, confident and vibrant paintings and works on paper, Self plays inventively with figuration, deconstructing and recreating the body, using various techniques, including collage. Pieces of collected fabric – sometimes African or African-inspired cloth given to her by her mother – and paper or perhaps sections of an earlier unresolved work, are sewn directly onto a work. Working in this way with mixed-media allows Self to blend fact with fiction, reality with imagination as she explores how the Black female body functions as a social and political symbol.
The Tschabalala Self exhibition was organised by Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London