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Mahari Chabwera in the studio 2023
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Mahari Chabwera is an artist and curator rooted in Black women’s wisdom traditions. Her artwork explores themes of mythology and spirituality along with self-actualization and transformation. Inspired by artists like Faith Ringgold and Betye Saar, Chabwera uses objects with a material resonance to construct tapestry paintings that suspend from hand-forged iron hooks. These images illustrate monumental figures composed of tempered glass, mica or oil paint. They emerge from cosmic and fertile landscapes with wings, horns, subservient serpents and elemental energy around. Chabwera’s work is speculative, seductive and fundamentally Black. 

As a self-proclaimed Womanist, Chabwera's curatorial work takes shape as Salt Eaters. Salt Eaters is a fellowship and exhibition series founded in 2020 in honor of the legacy of Toni Cade Bambara. Salt takes its name from The Salt Eaters, Toni Cade Bambara's novel published in 1980. The text asks early, "What is wrong, Old Wife? What is happening to the daughters of the yam? Don't they know we on the rise?." Set in a southern town of Black faith healers, the story follows a young woman being called to heal by her Godmother and her community. The procedure is intertwined with the memories, joys, pains, severed psychic moments, and battles toward collective and personal liberation experienced by the community. 


Pictured : Mahari Chabwera 2023, photograph by Gabriel Amadi-Emina

Mahari Chabwera is the recipient of The Peale Museum's 2023 Grit Fund and Art Matters 2023 Betty Parsons Fellowship. She is also the recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 2019 - 2020 Professional Fellowship, and The Visual Arts Center in Richmond’s 2020 Emerging Artist Award. Chabwera currently works in Richmond, Virginia, producing Etheric Bodies, Portraits of the Sacred Self, a series of tapestry paintings and communal care offerings curated by Angela Carroll, opening at NoMuNoMu Artspace, April 21, 2024. 

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