We are excited to share that Stacey Gillian Abe is included in Like Paradise, a group exhibition curated by the renowned Ekow Eschun in the newly opened Claridge’s ArtSpace.
Like Paradise is a group exhibition that brings together artists from across the African diaspora whose work situates the Black figure within natural landscapes. Their images offer a riposte to popular notions of Black experience and identity as fundamentally urban in character – a point of view which has led, historically, to the exclusion of Black people from narratives of countryside and nature.
In the summer, the wind passed across her sorghum fields just as they were about to be harvested... A stunning view during the day that terrified me greatly at night.
- Stacey Gillian Abe
“In the summer, the wind passed across her sorghum fields just as they were about to be harvested.
Every morning I would get up just before dawn and have breakfast behind my grandmother’s kitchen overlooking the sorghum fields. Nearly audible in the field were the sorghum’s faint whistles and twirls. A stunning view during the day that terrified me greatly at night.”
– Stacey Gillian Abe
By contrast, these artists conjure the natural world as a site of renewal and liberation, highlighting what the African American scholar bell hooks called ‘the humanizing connection with nature’ as a vital aspect of being Black and alive.
Like Paradise takes place in the context of what the scholar Kimberly N. Ruffin characterises as ‘the inclusive turn’ in ecological discourse, with the work and legacy of Black environmentalist activists such as Ken Saro-Wiwa and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, playing a signal role in shaping global conversations about climate and social justice.
Works in the exhibition are by turns lyrical, poetic and personal. By situating the Black figure within nature or in dialogue with the pastoral, the exhibition invokes the natural world as a terrain of the imagination as much as a physical territory, a space shaped by multiple perspectives on culture and identity, history and aesthetics.
Like Paradise will run until 5th December 2023. Learn more on the Claridge’s website.
Stacey Gillian Abe was born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1990. She received her BA in Art and Industrial Design from Kyambogo University, in 2014. Abe went on to present her work internationally at museums, galleries, fairs and biennales.