A Portfolio: Rugiyatou Jallow

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On today’s A Portfolio, we have an artist that should be on everyone’s radar in 2024: Gambia-Swedish painter, Rugiyatou Ylva Jallow. Wtih a solo show at albertz benda last year and recent residency at Mack Art Foundation, the combination of textile and painting is making for some really intriguing work. 

Rugiyatou Ylva Jallow (b.1990 in Stockholm, Sweden), currently residing in Los Angeles, is a Swedish-Gambian visual artist known primarily for her work with acrylic and oil paint.

Her bold self-portraits ensnare emotivity as each layer resonates the artist’s internal and outward struggle with feeling distanced from the world around her as she tries to reconcile the dichotomies of bridging multiple cultures as a mixed woman.

Rugiyatou was raised by her Gambian father and step mother who imparted West African values and culture while residing her whole life in Sweden. The artist credits her Swedish mother and grandmother as being early artistic influences in her life, inspiring her to start painting at an early age. Her upbringing became her inspiration to portray black subjectivity and explore her half-Swedish and half-Gambian identity. Jallow’s use of color to portray black, white, and mixed skin, as well as applying threads, is acting as a visual representation of equality and connection across races. The bright colors specifically are a further representation of the artist’s connection to nature and feeling of belonging on this Earth.

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