The Black Women in Europe™ blog, created in 2006 by Adrianne George, released its 11th Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2020 – A List of Our Own©. This 11th year we feature 9, and give special recognition to 11 women who provided 14 workshops and performances in our Let’s Do Us! Series to mitigate pandemic lockdown anxiety. The awardees are in the following categories: Activism, Arts, Entrepreneurship, Fashion, Media, and STEM.
British Ghanaian artist and curator Enam Gbewonyo (b.1980, London) studied BA European Textile Design at Bradford School of Art and Design. She began her career as a knitwear designer in New York. Following six years in the industry, redundancy prompted her return to the UK and subsequent career change. Gbewonyo’s practice investigates identity, womanhood, and humanity through the mediums of textiles and performance. She also advocates handcraft’s spiritual healing powers, using processes like embroidery, knit, weave, print and wirework. With her work, Gbewonyo seeks to deliver the collective consciousness to a positive place of awareness by creating live spaces of healing. By using craft as her portal she pushes us to face the truth of a dark global history and the emotions it brings forth. Through this process, she brings us to a point of spiritual awareness both of self and humanity.
Gbewonyo has exhibited with galleries and institutions such as; Tafeta Gallery, Bonhams, Gallery 46 Whitechapel, New Ashgate Gallery, Sulger-Buel Lovell Gallery, and Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair, Toronto. She has delivered performances for Christie’s, Hogan Lovells LLP, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, for Arts Territory’s Palace of Ritual which formed part of the 58th edition of Venice Biennale’s opening week collateral programme and as part of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair’s, Marrakech public programme. Her collaborative commissioned artwork exploring empire, slavery, colonisation, and the tea trade recently closed at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Gbewonyo’s curatorial work is dedicated to highlighting artists from Africa and its diaspora. Exhibitions include the African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival at the Bargehouse OXO Tower, London (2015), BBFA projects for TEDxEuston, London (2015) and Hogan Lovells LLP in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (2019), the Arts Council funded Ghanaian cross-cultural exchange project/ exhibition, ‘DISPERSED’, Accra (2017) and the Crossroads exhibition delivered for Black Shade Projects at Ozwald Boateng’s Mayfair concept store (2019).
Passionate about elevating black women artists, Gbewonyo is the founder of the Black British Female Artist (BBFA) Collective. The Collective serves as a platform to support emerging black women artists build sustainable careers whilst working to advocate for more inclusivity in the British arts landscape.
Gbewonyo is also a writer and public speaker. She has delivered talks with the likes of the Royal Academy of Arts (2020), British High Commission Nigeria (2019), Goldsmiths University (2019), Leeds University (2018), adidas USA (2018), Oxford University (2018), UAL London College of Fashion (2017/18) and Kuenyehia Art Prize, Ghana (2017). Her thought pieces can be found in international art publication, ‘Something We Africans Got’.
Online and broadsheet press features include; The New York Times, Financial Times, The Independent, Guardian, Vogue (International, Australia, Spain and British) and Nataal magazine.