Thread Portraits by Gio Swaby Explore Personal Style as Resistence

Thread Portraits by Gio Swaby Explore Personal Style as Resistence

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Embroidered portraits by Gio Swaby

Pret­ty Pret­ty 2’ (detail)

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.

Embroidered portraits by Gio Swaby

Pret­ty Pret­ty 2’

Embroidered portraits by Gio Swaby

Pret­ty Pret­ty 3’

Embroidered portraits by Gio Swaby

Pret­ty Pret­ty 3’

Embroidered portraits by Gio Swaby

Pret­ty Pret­ty 4’


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