Colonial Swag is a solo exhibition of paintings, tapestries and mixed media by artist April Bey. Raised in Nassau on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas and currently residing in Los Angeles, Bey’s interdisciplinary work combines US-American and Bahamian visual culture and contemporary pop culture into potent and imaginative social critique. Her work incorporates elements of feminism, generational theory, Afrofuturism, Afro-surrealism and constructs of race within supremacist systems.
For her exhibition at TERN, Bey will exhibit two-dimensional mixed-media works and installations from her ongoing Colonial Swag series. Colonial Swag is a “high-fashion luxury brand on Atlantica that uses fully sustainable, ethically mined colonialism from Earth’s developing countries to create beautiful, priceless pieces of fashion.”
Bey’s artworks are often crafted around the perspective of the fictional planet Atlantica, an Afrofuturist alien world which redefines Blackness outside the context of white supremacy and colonial suffering. Identified by the artist as her true point of origin, the planet was named in reference to stories her Black father told her as a way to explain racism, colourism, texturism and identity when she was a child. From the perspective of extraterrestrial observation and interplanetary transcendence, Bey’s works free Black expression from the politics and victimization of Earth’s ingrained power relations, imagining entirely separate realms and histories where no proverbial “isms” exist, glitter is currency and all inhabitants are glorious in their forms of free expression.
Mahogany Hill, Western Road
Nassau, The Bahamas
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