gio swaby

This is the work of Gio Swaby, an artist from the Bahamas who now lives in Vancouver. I wrote about her a couple of years ago after we met at an art show, and yes, she was just as lovely as her work. The images above range from 2017 till now… the silhouette pieces, from a series titled “Study of Self”, are her latest work and were part of a show at United Contemporary in Toronto earlier this year. In all of her textile portraits, hair plays an important role… and even though I included this excerpt from an interview Gio did with SAD Mag in my last post, I think it’s such a beautiful statement / explanation that I just had to include it again:

“I was thrust into this very small minority, that really forced me to reflect on myself, my physical appearance, what people think, feel, experience, when they interact with me, how am I perceived in public spaces, and a lot of that – a lot of the interaction I have with strangers in Vancouver – is about my hair. Hair has always been important to me, as a black woman. I think for most black women, hair is a big deal – it requires or receives the most maintenance.  [which is why she chooses her medium]  … traditionally thought of as domesticity, or female-centered activities like sewing, or crocheting and knitting relates very heavily in my work – the passing down of tradition. That’s also echoed in the theme of hair and hair care, black women passing that tradition on to one another through generations. That’s why the medium of thread and fabric was so fitting. Using the thread versus pen or charcoal, communicates to the viewer a sense of labour, a sense of process, time, and length. It’s fairly painstaking, you look at it and feel that a lot has gone into creating the work, a lot of time, a lot of energy – and also a lot of love and care.” 

Love. Follow her on Instagram. Happy Friday.

comments (2)

  1. Kathy Tycholis /// 06.06.2020 /// 12:34am

    I remember seeing her work a few years ago at an ARC in Vancouver, a series of textile portraits. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. Love her work and hope she continues to sparkle!

  2. KrissBoggild /// 06.08.2020 /// 9:40pm

    Gee, wish I had seen that show. Really intriguing work shown here. Look forward to seeing more so,where soon!

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