Gio Swaby - Claire Oliver Gallery

Gio Swaby

My work revolves around an exploration of identity, more specifically, the intersections of Blackness and womanhood. I am interested in the ways in which this physical identity can serve as a positive force of connection and closeness, while also examining its imposed relationship to otherness.

Each piece I create continues to build upon an integral aspect of my practice: to contribute to the visibility of Blackness in the art world. At many points in our lives, Black women can live within a paradox of hypervisibility and yet still not feeling truly seen. I want my work to function as a love letter of sorts to Black women, to create space for us not only to be represented but to be celebrated.

October 14, 2021 to October 17, 2021

Somerset House, London

View exhibit press release (pdf)

"A major aspect of Ms. Swaby’s practice is using her work as a celebration. For her, being joyful as a Black woman, as well as connecting and sharing in that joy with other Black women, is a form of resistance. “What I’m trying to achieve, over all, is to have that moment of joy with the viewer, and understanding that Black joy can actually be a form of resistance to white supremacy,” she said."

-Mr. Pierre-Antoine Louis from The New York Times

April 10, 2021 to June 5, 2021

Claire Oliver Gallery

View exhibit press release (pdf)

My work revolves around an exploration of identity, more specifically, the intersections of Blackness and womanhood. I am interested in the ways in which this physical identity can serve as a positive force of connection and closeness, while also examining its imposed relationship to otherness.

December 1, 2020 to January 23, 2021

Claire Oliver Gallery

View exhibit press release (pdf)

Four Now Is A Presentation of The Gallery’s Booth at Untitled Art Fair,
Telegraphing the Excitement of Miami Art Week To Claire Oliver’s Harlem Headquarters
With A Dynamic Program of Virtual Talks

Museum Collections

  • Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Museum of The Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MA
  • Museum of The Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Harper House, Detroit, MI
  • Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN

Solo Exhibitions

  • Both Sides Of The Sun, Claire Oliver Gallery 2021
  • Rooted: An Exploration of Blackness and Womanhood –
    The Current | Nassau, Bahamas – 2018
  • We All Know Each Other – Unit/Pitt Projects | Vancouver, BC – 2017

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • FOUR NOW, Claire Oliver Gallery 2020
  • Net Worth – UNITED CONTEMPORARY | Toronto, ON – 2020
  • Transforming Spaces – The D’Auguilar Art Foundation | Nassau, Bahamas – 2019
  • Die Textile: Stoffsuche – Kunsthaus Alte Mühle | Schmallenberg, Germany – 2018
  • 5th Annual Art Competition – Central Bank of The Bahamas |
    Nassau, Bahamas – 2018
  • Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series (Vancouver Finals) – Gallery Jones |
    Vancouver, BC – 2018
  • Going Out Clothes – Cheeky Proletariat | Vancouver, BC – 2018
  • Übersee: Cuba and The Bahamas – Halle 14 | Leipzip, Germany – 2017
  • National Exhibition 8 – National Art Gallery of The Bahamas | Nassau, Bahamas – 2016
  • Graduate Exhibition – Emily Carr University of Art & Design | Vancouver, BC – 2016
  • Nassau Calling – HilgerBROTKunsthalle | Vienna, Austria – 2015
  • Black Girl in Unnatural Habitat – Abraham Rogatnick Gallery | Vancouver, BC – 2015
  • 32nd Annual Art Competition – Central Bank of The Bahamas | Nassau, BahamasMap of the New Art – Giorgio Cini Foundation | Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice – 2015\National Exhibition 7 – National Art Gallery of The Bahamas | Nassau, Bahamas – 2014
  • Intersect: Junior Residency Artists’ Exhibition – Popopstudios ICVA | Nassau, Bahamas – 2013
  • Celebrating 40 Years of Bahamian Independence – Bahamian Embassy | Beijing, China – 2013
  • SINGLESEX – National Art Gallery of The Bahamas | Nassau, Bahamas – 2013
  • Harry C. Moore Library Mural Project – The College of The Bahamas | Nassau, Bahamas -2012
  • Independence Invitational – Central Bank of The Bahamas | Nassau, Bahamas
29th Annual Art Competition – Central Bank of The Bahamas | Nassau, Bahamas -2012
  • Transforming Spaces – The Hub | Nassau, Bahamas -2012
  • Transforming Spaces – The Pro Gallery | Nassau, Bahamas; Bahamas International Film Festival | Nassau, Bahamas – 2011

Awards and Distinctions

  • BC Arts Council Grant – Project Assistance for Visual Artists | 2020
  • Emily Carr University – President’s Media Award for Best Art Installation | 2016
  • Emily Carr University of Art & Design – Scholarship | 2015
  • Charitable Arts Foundation – Tuition Grant | 2014
  • Ministry of Education of The Bahamas – Tuition Grant | 2013
  • Popopstudios ICVA – Junior Artist Residency Prize | 2013
  • College of The Bahamas – Tuition Bursary | 2011

Articles and Reviews

  • Cascone, Sarah. Meet Artist Gio Swaby, the 29-Year-Old Phenom Whose Sold-Out Debut Boasted Buyers Including Eight Museums (and Roxane Gay), news.artnet.com, June 4, 2021
  • Louis, Antoine-Pierre. A Love Letter to Black Women, New York Times, April 10, 2021

Print/Download Biography


Press Release Archives

Gio Swaby: Visual Artist Centers on Black Joy as a Radical Act | Juneteenth Artist Showcase | OWN

As the daughter of a seamstress, Bahamian-born artist Gio Swaby says she grew up in a house that was teeming with colorful fabrics and threads. Today, Swaby uses textiles to convey the beauty, power and joy of Black womanhood.

2021 Distinguished Artist Series

Claire Oliver of Claire Oliver Gallery interviews fiber artists Gio Swaby and Adebunmi Gbadebo for the James Renwick Alliance for Craft 2021 Distinguished Artist Series.

Press

own your Shine: Juneteenth Artist Showcase

Oprah Winfrey Network

June 19, 2021

Press

The Back Room: Artwork of the Week

artnet news

June 18, 2021

Museum & Institutional News

Framing Black Sisterhood: an interview with Gio Swaby by Nya Lewis

Femme Art/Review

June 1, 2021

Press

Both Side of the Sun VR video enhanced tour release

Claire Oliver Gallery

May 22, 2021

Press

Black Joy as a Form of Resistance to White Supremacy

The New York Times

April 10, 2021

Press

A Love Letter to Black Women

The New York Times

April 10, 2021

Press

Upward and Onward, Black History Month feature

Interior Design

February 2, 2021

Press

Gio Swaby

The Jealous Curator

June 5, 2020

Press

Gio Swaby: She used to be Scared of Her Comb

Femme Art/Review

June 5, 2020

Press

Gio Swaby

The Jealous Curator

October 15, 2018

Museum & Institutional News

Diaspora, Darning and “Die Textile”: Giovanna Swaby takes her place in Germany

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

July 24, 2018

Press

Meet December’s Featured Artist, Gio Swaby

SAD (STORIES. ART. DESIGN.)

December 27, 2017

Museum & Institutional News

The Translation Conversation: Migration and navigating blackness in Bahamian womanhood

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

January 24, 2017