Voices: From Behind the Shadow of a Cactus


Gallery 1202 presents another segment to our 'Voices Series', an online exclusive exhibition, From Behind the Shadow of a Cactus, a body of work by contemporary artist, Abi Salami. Eight new works featuring Black women healing and thriving, accompanied by mini stories.


From Behind the Shadow of a Cactus is a body of eight works that follows eight fictional black/African women on their path towards healing. This series is based in Rerinia, a fictional parallel universe where Black women can escape to when the pressures of Earth become too much to bear. In Rerinia, the women are encouraged by the Mother to heal, forgive, and grow. They are allowed to stay as long as necessary for them to feel strong enough to return back to Earth. Each woman's path to healing is different and each of them must overcome their own inner demons to reach their Higher Self. 


After the chaotic events of 2020 and a recent breakup, I felt the need to truly get lost in my work and from that need, Rerinia was born. Inspired by the Afrofuturist movement, I was empowered to believe that there could be a real place dedicated to protecting and healing black women and their traumas. On the surface, it might seem unnecessary and maybe even audacious to imagine such a place, much less create eight works based in this new world, but with the "strong black woman" rhetoric that has burdened black women for hundreds of years, Rerinia is needed now more than ever. Rerinia is a place where black women can escape to feel human and more specifically, to feel feminine. With these works, I am providing viewers with a glimpse of what Rerinia would look like. I am challenging their preconceived notions about what black femininity is and reshaping their views on the black female figure and womanhood in hopes that we can rid ourselves from the belief that we need to have supernatural strength to endure supernatural abuse.


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