Last year was one of the hardest years of my life, but it also forced me to change, to grow, to thrive. I was a people pleaser; always thinking about the comfort of others and disregarding mine. I would let others push me around and take advantage of me because I wanted to keep the peace or to be viewed positively. But last year something finally broke and I had had enough. I learned the power of the word “No”. Not “no, because…” or “no, but…”. Just “No”. It set me free. From this newfound strength I started to create pieces that declared my metamorphosis. The three paintings I have submitted for this open call are the best representations of the changes I had to undergo to reach my Higher Self. They represent washing off the negative people and energies that dulled my light. They show how I struggled with always wanting to be in control of everything and realizing that letting things happen is so much easier and fulfilling. They show me defiantly celebrating my Blackness in a society that always seems to want to attack it. I have found that Slow Living and self-love result in a happier and more productive Abi and despite the hardships of 2020, I am thankful to have learned these life-long lessons.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Salami is a self-taught artist who explores the uncanny in the everyday. She allows her subconscious and life experiences to inform her paintings. Salami feels compelled to create and capture moments in time and life to express her thoughts and feelings. Salami’s work uses a personal lexicon made up of special symbols to explore memory, mental health, and race. Destigmatizing mental illness in African communities is a huge passion for Salami.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and based in Dallas, Texas, Salami earned an MPA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and worked in corporate America for almost a decade before committing to painting full-time. Since then, Salami has gone on to exhibiting in Dallas and across the United States including at The Women’s Museum, the African American Museum of Art in Dallas, and Viridian Artists Inc in New York City.
She was selected as a candidate of the Saatchi Art 2020 Rising Stars under 35 Class and a 2021 New Voices Top 100 Artists. Her work has been featured on the Washington Post, NBC5 News, FOX16 Morning News, Artsy, D Magazine and Voyage Magazine.”
© Abi Salami