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I was teased a lot when we moved to the United States. There I was a ten-year-old immigrant from Nigeria, with a different accent, different hairstyle, different clothes, different everything. Add my low self-esteem, and what you get is an easy target for relentless bullying. I quickly learned that American was good and Nigerian was bad, and since I wanted to fit in so badly, I quickly assimilated. Fast forward more than twenty years, and I am using my artwork to show that I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed of my culture and heritage. I always thought that because Africa had so many issues, I couldn't be proud of being an African, but overtime I have come to realize that it is possible to love something even though it is flawed. I have learned that I am worthy as an African and that Africa is worthy. In my paintings, I use both acrylic paint and collage pieces from vintage magazines dating back to the 1950’s to share my feelings about being an African. I try not to hold back or paint Africa in an overly rosy or overly grim light. I want to show both the good and the bad and share the struggles and joy that I feel when I think of my beloved homeland. I hope to take my viewers on a journey with each painting. I want to inspire others who are going through what I’ve been through and hopefully re-ignite self-pride and self-love for those who need it the most.
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Lady Africa Defiantly Shackled
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Lady Africa Defiantly Shackled Collage

Abi Salami

United States

Collage

Size: 48 W x 60 H x 1.5 D in

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Artist Recognition

link - Artist featured in a collection

Artist featured in a collection

link - Featured in Rising Stars

Featured in Rising Stars

link - Featured in the Catalog

Featured in the Catalog

link - Showed at the The Other Art Fair

Showed at the The Other Art Fair

About The Artwork

I was teased a lot when we moved to the United States. There I was a ten-year-old immigrant from Nigeria, with a different accent, different hairstyle, different clothes, different everything. Add my low self-esteem, and what you get is an easy target for relentless bullying. I quickly learned that American was good and Nigerian was bad, and since I wanted to fit in so badly, I quickly assimilated. Fast forward more than twenty years, and I am using my artwork to show that I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed of my culture and heritage. I always thought that because Africa had so many issues, I couldn't be proud of being an African, but overtime I have come to realize that it is possible to love something even though it is flawed. I have learned that I am worthy as an African and that Africa is worthy. In my paintings, I use both acrylic paint and collage pieces from vintage magazines dating back to the 1950’s to share my feelings about being an African. I try not to hold back or paint Africa in an overly rosy or overly grim light. I want to show both the good and the bad and share the struggles and joy that I feel when I think of my beloved homeland. I hope to take my viewers on a journey with each painting. I want to inspire others who are going through what I’ve been through and hopefully re-ignite self-pride and self-love for those who need it the most.

Details & Dimensions

Collage:Paper on Canvas

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:48 W x 60 H x 1.5 D in

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Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

Abi Salami explores the uncanny in the everyday, allowing her subconscious to inform her paintings while using a personal lexicon of symbols to explore memory, mental health, and race, specifically with the aim of destigmatizing mental illness in African communities. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and based in Dallas, Texas, Abi earned an MA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin before committing to painting full-time. She has since exhibited in Dallas and across the United States, including at The Women’s Museum in Dallas, the African American Museum of Art in Dallas, and Viridian Artists Inc. in New York City.

Artist Recognition

Artist featured in a collection

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Featured in Rising Stars

Handpicked by Saatchi Art's Chief Curator for our most prestigious feature, Rising Stars

Featured in the Catalog

Featured in Saatchi Art's printed catalog, sent to thousands of art collectors

Showed at the The Other Art Fair

Handpicked to show at The Other Art Fair presented by Saatchi Art in Dallas

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