Image Courtesy of The Oprah Network
Gio Swaby is a Bahamian interdisciplinary visual artist currently represented by Claire Oliver Gallery. She is known for her textile portraits that explore and celebrate Blackness.
With a multimedia practice that encompasses textile, installation, collage, performance and video, Swaby has exhibited in several galleries and museums including Claire Oliver Gallery in New York City, Die Textile in Schmallenberg Germany and The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.
Swaby holds an Associate of Arts degree in Fine Art from The University of The Bahamas, a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Film, Video and Integrated Media from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and a Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary, Art, Media and Design from Ontario College of Art and Design University.
She currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
My research centers on an exploration of Blackness and Womanhood through textile- based portraiture. Working through the lens of Black feminist thought, I have investigated restorative modes of resistance and constructed a supportive framework by which to utilize them. This work is an inquiry into the portrait as a tool of resistance and is motivated by the desire to represent Black women in a way that is nuanced, multilayered and honest.
My research asks the question of how Black women can navigate vulnerability in such a way that agency and power is maintained. At its core, this research is rooted in love and itself is an expression of love. It is a celebration of Blackness and creates space for Black people, especially Black women and girls, to be represented with honour and reverence.
The tangible works created throughout this process come after the work of visiting, sharing and cultivating connection between myself and the people that have graciously participated in the process.