Stacey Gillian Abe – Absa L’Atelier First Merit Award

5 JUL - 20 SEP 2019

Ugandan artist, Stacey Gillian Abe, joined the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios for a three-month residency in July 2019 as part of the Absa L’Atelier First Merit Award she received in 2018. The work she has been creating during her residency at the Bag Factory, builds on the work Seat of Honour, which Abe entered into the prestigious 2018 Absa L’Atelier competition.

“The project generates dialogue around power and position and gives a brief insight into the Lugbara community of West Nile-East Africa”, says Abe. With this as starting point, Stacey Gillian Abe’s project becomes a subjective study into the black female body, which she does by unpacking the various levels of perception, power, and positioning. The work speaks of a woman who finds herself in a very masculine and patriarchal space, it highlights how society perceives her, how she perceives herself and how these perceptions affect her. ‘‘I am not who I believe to be, I am lacked to a place of influence to hunt deep inside for my soul. I am torn between what is and what could be. As I conjure and manifest my inner being, I encounter and come to be that which you must only feel, only see through my eyes. But fertility and loss of youth, the urge to keep my ripeness is traded for my sanity and sanctity. I will take the throne with all might and blistering pain and seat on my vaginas, my womanly essence and feel them pressed hard against my balls’’, says the artist.


Stacey Gillian Abe was worn in 1990 and graduated with a B.A (Hon.) in Art and Industrial Design from Kyambogo University in 2014. Her work can be viewed as a mirror of her past memories, specifically as an African young woman, as well as a continuous exploration of her personal experiences within the communities she inhabits. The autobiographical aspect of
her work highlights specific complex situations like stereotypical depictions of her as a black woman - drawing on the strengths and fragility of the female mind. Similarly, her art probes unsettling narratives on the subject of identity, gender, spirituality and cultural mysticism, including the past and present. Stacey has had her work shown around the world, including at LKB Gallery in Hamburg, Germany in 2019, at the FNB Joburg Art Fair (2017, 2018) in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair (solo presentation) in 2018, at the 4th Silk Road Festival in 2017, at the 13th Dakar Biennale “Off” (2018), at the Addis Foto Fest in 2018, and at the 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair, in New York in 2018.

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