Adebunmi Gbadebo is a visual artist who creates sculptures, paintings, prints, and paper using human hair sourced from people of the African diaspora. Rejecting traditional art materials, Gbadebo saw hair as a means to center her people and their histories as central to the narratives in her work. Born in New Jersey and based in Newark, Gbadebo first gained recognition in 2015 exhibiting in her first solo exhibition curated by Adrienne Wheeler at the Paul Robeson Gallery at Rutgers University, Newark, NJ while earning a BFA at the School of Visual Arts, NY.
Gbadebo’s work is included in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art. Gbadebo’s work has been presented in numerous exhibitions in the United States, Asia, and Europe, including the Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh; 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis; Untitled Art Fair, Miami; Chashama, New York; Morris Art Dodge Foundation, New Jersey; College of Saint Elizabeth, New Jersey; amongst others. She has been written about in publications such as the New York Times, Hyperallergic, The Australian Sydney Morning Herald, Artspace, Ocula, Hypebeast, and Afropunk. Gbadebo’s residencies include The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, and the Vermont Studio Center. She has been broadcast on BBC Newsday and Talke TV (Nigeria) and has given talks at the Museum of the African Diaspora, Spence School, and the Newark Museum. Adebunmi is currently represented by Claire Oliver Gallery, Harlem, NY.
At The Clay Studio Adebunmi will be working on a new series, “Land for Sale” which focuses on True Blue Plantation in Fort Motte, South Carolina. In this series she will unearth the soil from True Blue Cemetery, the burial ground of her enslaved ancestors, and transform the land into ceramic sculpture. The profit from this series will be used to buy back and maintain parts of True Blue Plantation so that its descendants will have access to this site – interrupting a cycle of lost information. Gbadebo is guided by suggestions and evidence that soil can be a repository for memory and a space can be healed by activating its history.
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