Espoo Museum of Modern Art

Tschabalala Self’s first solo exhibition in Finland to open as part of InCollection series

Tschabalala Self: Around the Way © Paula Virta / EMMA
Tschabalala Self: Around the Way © Paula Virta / EMMA

Tschabalala Self is the seventh artist to join InCollection series of exhibitions co-produced by EMMA and Saastamoinen Foundation. The centerpiece of the exhibition Around the Way is Anthurium, a newly commissioned painting by Self which will join the Saastamoinen Foundation Art Collection. Around the Way transforms EMMA’s exhibition spaces with colourful displays to evoke the metropolitan landscapes of Harlem and the atmosphere of its domestic interiors. The expansive year-long exhibition is on view from 8 May 2024 until 4 May 2025.

Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Tschabalala Self (b. 1990) pushes the traditional boundaries  of painting with her innovative use of pigments, textiles and printmaking methods, creating works that blend painting with collage. She infuses her work with her experiences as a Black American woman, deconstructing and reimagining Western portrayals of the Black body. Creating new archetypes,  Self constructs immersive environments that invite viewers to engage with themes of identity and representation. Around the Way includes nearly 20 works, including recent paintings, life-size sculptures and three new paintings created for the exhibition. 

Tschabalala Self © Paula Virta / EMMA

“I am excited to share my work for the first time with audiences in Finland at the EMMA. This project in particular is very important to me as it is an ode to my hometown; Harlem, USA. All of the characters in my painting have in some shape or form been inspired by the loved ones, friends, neighbors and strangers I encountered growing up in Harlem. Around the Way hopes to show the beauty and complexity of the Black American character”, Tschabalala Self says. 

The title of the exhibition, Around the Way, is Black-American vernacular for the local neighbourhood, implying a sense of familiarity and belonging, or describing someone who embodies the neighborhood’s essence. The exhibition presents a multidimensional portrait of people from around the way, claiming space in their streets and homes, determining how they are seen and understood. 

Tschabalala Self: Around the Way © Paula Virta / EMMA

The exhibition also features scheduled screenings of Sounding Board, Self’s only performance work to date, commissioned for the Performa 2021 Biennial in New York, and captured in a video recording. Alongside Anthurium, Saastamoinen Foundation has acquired a furniture sculpture by Self, created for the Sounding Board set. This piece will be exhibited together with Self’s paintings of domestic scenes. The Sounding Board screenings will take place during the autumn of 2024 and the spring of 2025 and will also be accessible online via the museum’s digital platform, EMMA Zone.

  • → InCollection

    InCollection is a series of annual commissions and exhibitions produced jointly by Saastamoinen Foundation and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.

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