Stacey Gillian Abe
Stacey Gillian Abe’s work reflects her past and her memories, highlighting her personal experiences and her relationships to her community.
Stacey Gillian Abe’s work reflects her past and her memories, highlighting her personal experiences and her relationships to her community. The autobiographical dimension of her work confronts traditional depictions of the Black body, drawing attention to more cerebral aspects and challenging the colonial lens.
The concepts behind Abe’s artworks highlight specific complex situations. Drawing on early and continuous autobiographical experiences, Abe’s works offer a reassessment of conventional depictions of her as Black woman by choosing to focus on the suppleness of the mind. These images materialise as created imaginary spaces that induce a surreal mystical feel while probing unsettling past and present narratives of identity, gender, spirituality and cultural mysticism.
In essence, Abe’s autobiographical paintings explore the idea that Black identity exists without any visible means of support. Colonial paradigms have fostered a narrative that Black existence without White existence remains unenlightened. The colour indigo has become a crucial element of this narrative, highlighted through skin tone. As a colour, indigo is intertwined with narratives surrounding the Black body and its hue has subsequently become significant in the reshaping of these narratives. For Abe, this reshaping includes a drive to revisit the past in order to form a new dialogue through which possibilities of an alternate future for the Black race can be pursued. In this sense, Abe’s works delve deeper into the complexities of colourism that are weaved into the Black community.
Ultimately, Abe’s artworks create an immersive and intimate space, focussing on confident and assured depictions of the Black body. In this world, these figures remain provocative, emotive and unapologetic.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
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 exhibitions, galleries, fairs and biennales, including 1:54 Fair New York and London 2018 & 2020, Being Her(e) at KAURU Contemporary in Johannesburg (2017), Stellenbosch Trienniale in Cape Town (2020), IRL with Unit London (2020), Black Voices Friend of my mind at Ross-Sutton Gallery New York (2020) and The Power of My Hands at Musée d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, in Paris (2021). The artist has been featured in publications including The Independent and The New York Times. Along with her numerous awards, in 2018 the artist was listed among the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 Creatives.