Tschabalala Self

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Artist Statement

My current body of work is concerned with the iconographic significance of the Black female body in contemporary culture. My 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. My practice is dedicated to naming this phenomenon.

The fantasies and attitudes surrounding the Black female body are both accepted and rejected within my practice, and through this disorientation, new possibilities arise. I am 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.

I hope to correct misconceptions propagated within and projected upon the Black community in regard to Black femininity. Multiplicity and possibility are essential to my practice and general philosophy. My subjects are fully aware of their conspicuousness and are unmoved by their viewer’s gaze. Their role is not to show, explain, or perform but rather “to be.” In being, their presence is acknowledged and their significance felt. My project is committed to this exchange, for my own edification and of the edification of those who resemble me.





2015 MFA in Painting/Printmaking, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT
2012 BA in Studio Arts, Bard College, Annandale-­on-­Hudson, NY


Out of Body , Thierry Goldberg Gallery New York, NY Curated by Ron Segev 06/04-­06/18
Head over Heels , Schur-­Narula Berlin, Germany Curated by Niki Schur-­Narula 05/04-­ 05/27


Yale MFA Painting and Printmaking Graduates 2015 , Garis & Hahn. New York, NY. Curated by David Humphrey
2,015 But Who’s Counting , Yale School of Art Green Gallery.New Haven, CT.Yale MFA Painting/Printmaking Thesis

13 Artists , 24/6 Space. New Haven, CT. Curated by Awol Erizku
Swimming Pool , 24/6 Space. New Haven, CT. Curated by Tschabalala Self & Aaron Fowler

For Ed: Splendor in the Grass with Olympic Lad & Lass, Yale School of Art Green Gallery. New Haven, CT.Curated by Yale School of Art
Women Love the World, Launchpad. Brooklyn, NY. Curated by Lehna Huie Encounters, Harlem School of the Arts. Harlem, NY. Curated by Ana Ruiz-­Castillo

SUGGARHILL, Essie Green Galleries. Harlem, NY. Curated by Dan Manso & Tschabalala Self
Edge Control, UBS Exhibition Center. Red Hook, NY. Bard College Studio Art Thesis Exhibition
NEO XL, Werehouse. Long Island City, NY. Curated by The Psrsly Koo Conglomerate

Radiant Minds , Queens Museum of Art. Queens, NY. Curated by Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Admission $2.00, Whitney at Altria. New York, NY. Curated by Allison Weisberg


Al Held Fellowship, Yale School of Art
Arttable Curatorial Fellowship; Artspace, New Haven, CT

Milton and Sally Avery Scholarship: Excellence in the Undergraduate Arts, Bard College
Bertha Bennett Scholarship, Bard College

Milton and Sally Avery Scholarship: Excellence in the Undergraduate Arts, Bard College
Bertha Bennett Scholarship, Bard College

Eugene M. Lang Scholarship, Bard College

Hearst Foundation Scholarship, Bard College


The Cabin Residency, The Cabin, Los Angeles, California (upcoming)
Fountainhead Residency, Fountainhead, Miami, Florida

Al Held Fellow, American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy

2015 Cox, Brandon Coley. Refracted Discourse. The International Review of African American Art (53). Vol.25 No.3. print.
2014 Barnes, Alexis. Yale University is Having its First All Black Art Show . Vice : April 17 2014. online.
2012 DIS. The Art School Issue: Competing Images . DIS Magazine. May 26 2012. online.
2007 Kern, Richard. Up & Comers: Dressed for the Part. Whitewall Magazine (62 & 64) Fall 2007. print.


Tschabalala: Exalting Mother Earth. PROTECT & EXALT, online. July 1 2015. Interviewed by P&E
In the Work Of Tschabalala Self, Art Imitates Life As She Explores the Multidimensionality of Black Womanhood. Dynamic Africa, online. April 14 2015. Interviewed by Funke M