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Tschabalala Self reimagines Matisse’s Two Women as a contemporary couple

A centrepiece of Tschabalala Self’s solo show at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), By My Self (28 March-19 September) is a response to a work in the museum’s permanent collection: Henri Matisse’s sculpture Two Women (1907-08), originally titled Two Negresses. The BMA has the most comprehensive holding of Matisse's work in a public museum and Self, a Harlem-born contemporary artist whose mixed media work deconstructs collective assumptions around the Black female body, looked through many drawings, paintings, and sculptures by the post-impressionist (several of which depict African subjects), according to Cecilia Wichmann, the associate curator of contemporary art who organised the exhibition. Self connected with this one Matisse sculpture in particular, Wichmann says, and she began to develop a new suite of paintings based on the two women and their clearly intimate relationship.

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