Stacey Gillian Abe's practice includes photography, sculpture, installation, performance and painting. Her concepts highlight the strengths and fragility of the female mind, seen as autobiographical and drawn from past experiences. They attempt to critique stereotypical depictions of her as a black woman. Each space that Gillian works on has its own context and gets its own interpretations; it highlights self-resilience and that which can be overcome. The stereotypes she addresses materialize into created imagined spaces that instigate a surreal mystical feel to the work borne of two realms contrasting and complementing each other.
The artist has incorporated a metaphorical and experimental approach to her work through her interest in exploring new techniques with parallel mediums like glass and ceramics, fibres, textures and photography. Her work draws attention to the hand-made through the method of tying together and binding, stitching, clustering and pairing which are assembled and leyerd into a metaphorical concept.
In her series Seat of Honor (2017), the artist depicted herself on and next to a throne covered with ceramic vaginas. While the throne symbols her acceptance of her femininity, the gender points to the female dilemma between a celebration of youth and acknowledgement of maturity. In Enya-Sa (2016), she juxtaposed food and sexual satisfaction in contemporary society via small ceramic sculptures presented on ordinary plates. Through its different dimensions, Stacey Gillian Abe's work refers to subjects such as identity, gender, spirituality and cultural mysticism, the past and present. She has dedicated her skills to creating art for the community with the aim of inspiring and motivating people, mainly the female gender.
"My concepts are more or less birthed from a personal context and then blown out of proportion, shrunk, distorted or disintegrated from which possible meaning and interpretations are shifted. I personally believe we are spiritual beings and that there exists no hard and fast distinction between the spiritual and physical (or material) world and a life oriented towards an inner being."
– Stacey Gillian Abe
Stacey Gillian Abe was born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1991. In 2014, she graduated from Kyambogo University, Kampala, with a BA in Art and Industrial Design. She has received numerous awards, and, in 2018, the artist was listed among the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 Creatives. The artist has held various artist residencies among them Urbane Künste, Dortmund (2019) and Fondation Blachère, Apt (2018). Her work has been exhibited in both Africa and abroad, at Nairobi Museum, Nairobi; Institut Francais Kinshasha, Kinshasa; Goethe institute, Nairobi and the 12th Dakar Biennale, Dakar, among others. In 2020, she participated at the 2020 Stellenbosch Trienniale, Cape Town. She lives and works in Kampala, UG.