pairs artists together to discuss their work and creative practice.
For this episode, we asked visual artist Tschabalala Self who she’d most like to speak with, and she immediately selected her friend Abdu Ali, the musician and multidisciplinary artist. The pair discuss the fantasy of permanent institutional spaces, unapologetic art, and the fraught desire for canonical recognition.
Tschabalala Self is a Harlem-born visual artist whose work concerns Black femininity and the iconographic significance of the Black female body in contemporary culture. Future and recent solo exhibitions include: By My Self (2021, Baltimore Museum of Art), Cotton Mouth (2020, Galerie Eva Presenhuber), and Tschabalala Self: Out of Body (2020, ICA Boston). Self’s work belongs to many prominent museum collections including The Aïshti Foundation, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Hammer Museum, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.
Abdu Ali is a musician, writer, cultural worker, and multidisciplinary artist. Blending punk, jazz, Baltimore club music, and rap, their works explore ideas of race, gender, sexuality, and liberation from oppressive ideologies and systems. Ali has performed at MoMa Ps1 and The Carnegie Museum of Art. They received a 2018 Ruby Artist Grant and a 2019 Best Artist Award by The LGBTQ Commission of Baltimore City. Ali is a co-founder of as they lay, A Baltimore-based curatorial platform that claims space for critical dialogue, collaboration, and radical envisioning for Black creative futures.