‘Gio Swaby, I Will Blossom Anyway’ to Open at Claire Oliver Gallery during Frieze Week

Gotham To Go
Gio Swaby originally drew from the concept of Double Consciousness originally coined by W.E.B. Debois in his 1903 work, The Souls of Black Folk where he described how Black people are taught to see themselves through the eyes of a racist and unloving society. Swaby’s work is a marked counterpoint to this: intentionally serving as a love letter to Black and Brown women, often her friends, through a gaze that is loving and aims to see the whole person in their imperfections, personal style, strength and eccentricities as a counterpoint to the often-politicized depictions of Black bodies. Swaby uses this as a starting point to reflect on her lived experience of being a Bahamian immigrant living in Toronto and how she experiences a dual self: one that is not Canadian but not unchanged by her experience there when she returns to the Bahamas either. I Will Blossom Anyway uses this framework to turn the artist’s signature embrace inward, offering an intimate and unguarded view of her personal self-reflection and identity.
May 12, 2023