Portrait of Tschabalala Self via student.bard.edu

Tschabalala Self

United States 1990

Painting, Collage, Printmaking


Tschabalala Self
Tschabalala Self
United States
September 27, 2017
Art somehow explains a lot that's happening in the world right now. Feel free to contact me at nikola.milosevic777@gmail.com

Although quite young, Tschabalala Self has positioned herself really quickly as a burgeoning artist. Her approach is based on extended painterly and printmaking executions mainly embodied in colleges, but the objects as well. The black female body is the dominant motive of her practice, which suggests Self’s exploration of social and political importance of female experience. Furthermore, the artist’s agenda is inclined in salving canon of representation of black body within the popular culture which is based on racial and class narrative.

oil on canvas is filled with acrylic and paper
Tschabalala Self – The Function, Installation view, 2016

The Black Bodies of Tschabalala Self

Born in 1990 in New York, Tschabalala Self obtained her B.A. from Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson in 2012, and M.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking, from the Yale School of Art in 2015. Her inspiration is profoundly related to her background. Growing up in Harlem, mostly addressed to her mother and three sisters, lead Self to examine not only black female experience but more importantly, black female heritage. In her recent project My Black Ass, with series of GIF portraits the artist is dealing with exoticised historical image of the black female body from the 19th – century freak shows to contemporary culture.[1] With the solo exhibition under the name Gut Feelings, that was on display at Thierry Goldberg Gallery in New York, Tschabalala Self showed works representing various depictions of single or multiple bodies with elongated limbs undermining the complexity of one’s collective identity.

Colorful figures as a tool for debating social topics

The artist combines flashe oil and fabric in order to produce captivating paintings in her studio
Tschabalala Self – Gut Feelings, Installation view, 2016

Being Political Through Art

Self-awareness and a need to articulate personal identity in the case of Tschabalala Self largely can confine her practice to achievements of feminist art. The very use of fabric in her art is related to tradition of woman craft, as well as the importance of womanhood opposed to the patriarchal system. Furthermore, by performing gender issues, Self is actually dissecting established myths not only within public sphere but, more importantly, within the black community, undermining the importance of social emancipation. [2]

Tschabalala Self is one of the most promising young artists from New York.

her oil on canvas worok was published in the press
Tschabalala Self – Leda, 2015

On-Going Career of Young Rising Star

Preoccupation with the body as a social and political symbol definitely frames Tshabalala Self’s work as an engaged practice which keeps up with contemporaneity. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions from 2007 onwards and had solo shows in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and Naples. Her recent solo exhibitions were on display at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art and Pilar Corrias Gallery, both in London, UK. Growing carrier of Tschabalala Self is not surprising since this talented artist has shown great efforts to articulate precisely the course of her art, not only in purely technical but moreover in a conceptual sense.

The artist lives and works in between New York and New Haven.


  1. Sargent, A. (2016), The Black Female Experience, The Creators Project [November 10, 2016]
  2. Anderson, H. (2016), Emerging artist Tschabalala Self and the collective fantasies surrounding the black body, Conceptual Fine Arts [November 10, 2016]

Featured image: Portrait of Tschabalala Self, photo via student.bard.edu
All other images copyright of Tschabalala Self and Thierry Goldberg gallery

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2017Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a WeaponNew Museum, New York, USAGroup
2017Tschabalala SelfPilar Corrias Gallery, London, UK Solo
2017Tschabalala SelfTramway, Glasgow, UKSolo
2017Tschabalala SelfParasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London, United KingdomSolo
2017Body LanguageCompany Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2017A Screen of FleshCOMA Gallery, Ruschcutters Bay, AustraliaGroup
2017All These Beautiful LadiesLithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre, Vilnius, LithuaniaGroup
2017Le Nouveau VoyeurismeHotel Contemporary, Milan, IT Group
2016Gut FeelingsThierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2016The FunctionT293 Gallery, Naples, ItalySolo
2015TropicanaThe Cabin, Los Angeles, CASolo
2015Out of BodyThierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2015Head over HeelsSchur-Narula, Berlin, GermanySolo
2015Berg Matthams Self & WeaverThierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, NYGroup
20152,015 But Who’s CountingYale School of Art Green Gallery, New Haven, CTGroup
2015Yale MFA Painting and Printmaking Graduates 2015Garis & Hahn, New York, NYGroup
201413 Artists24/6 Gallery, New Haven, CTGroup
2014Swimming Pool24/6 Gallery, New Haven, CTGroup
2013For Ed: Splendor in the Grass with Olympic Lad & LassYale School of Art Green Gallery, New Haven, CTGroup
2013Women Love the WorldLaunchpad, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2013EncountersHarlem School of the Arts, Harlem, NYGroup
2012SUGGARHILLEssie Green Galleries, Harlem, NYGroup
2012NEO XLWerehouse, Long Island City, NYGroup
2012Edge ControlUBS Exhibition Center, Red Hook, NYGroup
2008Radiant MindsQueens Museum of Art, Queens, NYGroup
2007Admission $2.00Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, NYGroup