12 Self Portraits
Sant’Andrea de Scaphis, Rome
Frida Orupabo’s artworks denude and dismember the multifarious legacies of colonialism, controverting its still-engrained narratives of race, gender, and ownership. Historical photographs of black women provide her not only source material and subject matter, but first-person narrators as well: there is identification between the artist and the figures that appear in her works. The hierarchical relation between subject, viewer, and author — the latter two of which roles have been historically denied to black women — is destabilized, distinctions between the positions blurred, reframed, and upended.
An exhibition of new work by Orupabo, titled 12 self portraits, opens on Friday, February 28 at Sant’Andrea de Scaphis. While her practice continues to center around the act of collage, this exhibition sees her abandoning the squared-off picture plane, opting instead for free-floating forms —some hung on the wall, others presented as free-standing sculptures.