Artist Gio Swaby creates thread-stitched portraits on canvas that have a continuous contour drawing vibe to them. Part of her Pretty Pretty series, they depict Black women, paying homage to the style and self-expression of these women.
“My new series, Pretty Pretty, is an exploration of personal style as a tool of resistance; resisting being unseen and navigating the contradictory experience of invisibility of hypervisibility,” Gio explains. “It is about reclaiming space through unapologetic self-expression. This work also explores resistance through the gaze, exploring the power dynamics of looking and observation in public space and the ways in which Black bodies often become a spectacle. bell hooks says ‘There is power in looking’. This work explores ‘looking back’ as a moment of empowerment, a tool to subvert the white gaze.”
Pretty Pretty, in addition to more of Gio’s textile pieces, will be on view in a solo exhibition at the Claire Oliver Gallery in NYC from April 10 to June 5, 2021. For more of her work, follow her on Instagram.
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