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
Abe was born in Kampala, Uganda. Her work has been presented internationally at exhibitions, galleries, fairs and biennales, including AtWork Kampala Chapter 03, Being Her(e) KAURU Contemporary 2017, Blachere Foundation, Johannesburg Gallery, This Is Not A White Cube (TINAWC)Luanda, Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2018 & 2020, 1:54 Fair New York and London 2018 & 2020, AKAA Art Fair, Paris 2019, ARCO Lisboa 2019, 4th Silk Road Festival, Xi’an China 2017, 13th Dakar Biennale off 2018, Addis Foto Fest, Addis Ababa 2019, Aidah Muluneh’s home Bound: A journey in Photography (special feature) Africa Institute in Sharjah 2020, The Power of my hands, Museum of Modern Art, Paris 2020, France, The Stellenbosch Triennale 2020, IRL with Unit London 2020, Black Voices Friend of my mind Ross-Sutton Gallery New York 2020 and Playing to the Gallery with Afriart, Uganda in 2020.
Abe was awarded a Prince Claus Fund in 2016, a research award Residency for Artists and Writers (RAW) Arts of Africa, the Global Souths-Rhodes University and The Mellon Foundation South Africa 2017, NMK Special Prize award: CYNET Art and C. Rockefeller Centre Dresden Germany 2018, ABSA Barclays L’Atelier 2018 First Merit Award South Africa, Urbane Künste Ruhr Scholarly award Germany 2019, IWALEWAHAUS Art award Germany (2019). Abe was listed in the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 creatives in 2018 and was shortlisted for the Henrike Grohs Art award 2020.