Adebunmi Gbadebo explores concepts involving land, memory, and erasure. Her History Papers are a mix of cotton, indigo dye and human hair, collected from black barbershops, which the artist pulverises and combines to create sheets of hand-laid “paper”. These papers are viewed as abstracted documents, loaded with genetic histories and racial references.
The artist’s own history reveals ancestors located on plantations in Carolina; her use of indigo and cotton reference her own family in particular but the African Diaspora as a larger concept. Gbadebo’s studio practice is an attempt to answer lingering questions and process these histories. Pounds of kinky hair, cotton, denim, and indigo hair dye are baptised in water, then pulled out to form compositions reminiscent of aerial maps or bodies of water. These actions become a way of accessing place and time through material and process. Gbadebo’s work has been acquired for the permanent collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Minnesota Museum of American Art and has been exhibited at Rutgers University and The College of Saint Elizabeth. Gbadebo’s work has been reviewed in The Huffington Post and AfroPunk.