Tschabalala Self

born 1990

Tschabalala Self grew up in Harlem, New York, where as a young African-American artist she developed a distinct style of working with the issues surrounding the black, feminine body. Her paintings are in fact collages based on various media. Self portrays the bodies of black women and exaggerates their stereotypical appearance: protruding buttocks, powerful thighs, and perky breasts. Some elements are painted, some are made of pieces of printed canvas sewn onto the painting, and others are drawn with a crayon. The use of such different techniques reflects the artist’s process of deconstructing process the cultural cliché that forces us to perceive the black body as exotic, wild, and sexually licentious. Self not only reveals the conventionality of this stereotype, but also gives the black body, reconstructed in the picture, the power of self-determination. The violence of the white male gaze is transformed into the power of the black body.

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