Skip to main content


Swaby works in series form, and the exhibition features bodies of work spanning 2017 through 2021. Growing up surrounded by the threads and fabrics of her mother, a seamstress, Swaby chooses to work in mediums traditionally associated with domesticity as a means to imbue her works with familiarity, labor, and care. Swaby upends tradition, however, and gives the sewing medium a sense of monumentality with the life-size series Pretty Pretty. The subjects are intricately rendered in freehand lines of thread, and shown on the reverse side of the canvas so that the stitching process—its knots and loose threads, so often hidden—is visible. There’s a vulnerability to “showing the back,” but Swaby embraces and elevates the imperfections.

Learn more and make your plans to visit:

"Gio Swaby: Fresh Up" is co-organized with the Art Institute of Chicago, where it will open in 2023.

Made possible in part by generous support from The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society, PNC BANK, Gobioff Foundation, Sonia Raymund Foundation Inc., James G. Sweeny, and Garth Family Foundation. Contributing support provided by the City of St. Petersburg and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

#GioSwaby #fabric #textiles #claireolivergallery #portraits #blackportraiture #contemporaryartist #blackartinamerica #contemporaryart #fabricwork #exhibition #soloexhibition #fabric #Textileart #FreshUpMFA #freshup

@claireolivergallery @gioswaby @artinstitutechi @katherinepill @melindalwatt

Gio is a Bahamian multimedia textile artist whose work has been exhibited internationally and covered by @harpersbazaarus & @vanityfair #freshup Photo credit: @claireolivergallery

News Summary
Congratulations to MFA student @GioSwaby whose first solo exhibition at museum, Fresh Up, just opened @MFAStPete and is on until Oct. 2022!
Banner Image

New to OCAD U? Have you accepted your offer to study at OCAD University, starting in September 2020? Welcome!

Introduce yourself to our community and participate in face2face 2020: a unique annual tradition, now a first OCAD U virtual exhibition for new and first-year undergrads.

Introduce yourself to our community!
Create a self-portrait and show us who you are!

Draw, paint, collage, photography, video, animation... or other!
Photograph or scan your work... or create it digitally!
Make it a literal likeness or a metaphorical representation!
Have fun! Play around with the idea of your self-image.
Express your own unique style. How would you like to be seen?
Be modest, outrageous, fanciful, or elegant!

Thank you to Above Ground Art Supplies, the OCAD U art supply store of choice for supporting face2face: 2020!

Send us your self-portrait by 11:59 p.m., Monday, July 27, 2020, for a chance to win the Early Bird Prize: an Above Ground Art Supplies gift bag!

All self-portraits received by the final submission deadline of 11:59 p.m. Monday, August 31, 2020, will qualify for a chance to win one of two additional prizes*:

Runner Up: an Above Ground Art Supplies gift bag.
Grand Prize: an Above Ground Art Supplies $125 gift card.

We look forward to receiving your self-portrait!

*Prize winners are chosen randomly from all submissions received. Selection is not based on quality, process or individual style.

Good luck!

Read more:


New to OCAD U? Have you accepted your offer to study at OCAD University, starting in September 2020? Welcome!

Banner Image
face2face 2020: virtual exhibition graphic
Event Display
Hide when event is over


of 0
Subscribe to Portraits