1 August 2023

First solo exhibition in Scotland for Malawian artist Billie Zangewa

A silk collage depicts a sleeping child
Billie Zangewa, Temporary Reprieve, 2017. Hand-stitched silk collage

Billie Zangewa: A Quiet Fire
Preview 28 September 
29 September 2023 - 28 January 2024

Tramway presents the first solo exhibition in a Scottish institution by Malawian artist Billie Zangewa.

In her work Billie Zangewa creates intricate figurative collages from hand-stitched fragments of raw silk that challenge the historical stereotypes and perceptions used to objectify and exploit Black women.
Zangewa creates images of strength, independence and tenderness, often contrasted with darker moments of prejudice or distain to embody a combination of melancholy and hope which is both autobiographical and universal.

The exhibition features Return to Paradise, a new panoramic, narrative silk collage echoing classical frescos and history painting in its format, establishing a reframing of its subject. Alongside this new work, commissioned for the exhibition, A Quiet Fire includes a collection of earlier works reflective of the artist’s work and practice over the last 12 years. These images, described by the artist as acts of daily feminism, are intimate and confident, speaking powerfully of the artist’s sense of self and of female identity; domestic and professional personas, an inner life and public face. A Quiet Fire is a visualization of what the female gaze, through self-portraiture, could look like.

Billie Zangewa has been shown widely in the United States and Europe. Her work is in several public and private collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library, Preston, United Kingdom; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston, Boston, MA; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, New York, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa; RISD Museum, Providence, RI; Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom. She is represented by Lehmann Maupin Gallery.

The exhibition is realised in partnership with Brighton CCA and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton. The exhibition's centrepiece - Return to Paradise - was commissioned by Brighton CCA for the exhibition and represents the artist's largest work to date.