Tschabalala Self, wearing white, leaning on a table in her New Haven studio

Tschabalala Self

Reassembling everyday life.

“You don’t have to use paint to make a painting.”

Tschabalala Self makes portraits with impact – bold, bright and tactile. The works cherish Black social life. Women sit, chill and chat. Sometimes they hang out in groups, and sometimes they enjoy a moment of solitude. While she calls herself a painter, Self mainly works with fabric. Her process is intuitive and hands-on. First, she draws on her studio floor. Then she cuts up patterned fabric and...

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Tschabalala Self (she/her) was born in 1990 and raised in Harlem, New York. She now lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut.


The energetic beauty of everyday Black life is central to Self’s work. Her practice is firmly rooted in Harlem, New York, where she grew up. The ‘composite characters’ in her portraits are inspired by the people she encounters in the neighbourhood.


Self is hugely popular both inside and outside the art world. She’s had shows at major museums and has artworks in public collections across the world. In recent years she’s explored theatre, performance and fashion – including collaborations with UGG and Louis Vuitton.

Collaborations with Tschabalala Self

Avant Arte and Tschabalala Self have one upcoming collaboration.

Exclusively on Avant Arte