Mari Griffith
6 October 2023

Gesiye (b. 1992)

Mari Griffith

6 October 2023 | Minute read

Gesiye is a multidisciplinary artist from Trinidad and Tobago whose artistic practice addresses themes of ancestry and healing.

Gesiye was raised in a Nigerian-Trinidadian family in Trinidad and Tobago, and gained a B.A. in Visual Arts from Columbia University, New York. Her work is based on a foundation of storytelling, which she develops across different mediums and in close engagement with communities and individuals. Her creative process is also guided by her experiences as a Black queer woman and her social and environmental activism.

Her commitment to these issues has led her to work on themes related to land and the earth, but she also focuses on the human body, both as subject and a medium of her art – in many works, skin becomes her canvas on which she tattoos imagery and motifs.

In 2021, Gesiye was commissioned by Amgueddfa Cymru to create a piece of work that responded to the portrait of the slaveowner Sir Thomas Picton in the Museum’s collection. The work The Wound is a Portal uses the ritual of tattooing to explore the generational trauma left by slavery and colonialism on the the land of her birth. The installation included a series of portraits and a short film – a stop-motion animation showing tattoos on Black Trinidadians of different ages, representing collective healing and a reclamation of agency. The work is now in the collection of Amgueddfa Cymru.

Gesiye has also shown her work at FiveMyles, Trinidad Theatre Workshop, and the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mari Griffith is an art historian who has worked in the field of museums and galleries for 30 years, developing and overseeing learning and interpretation provision for public art collections and exhibitions, including at the National Gallery, National Gallery of Art and Royal Academy of Arts. Following a period working internationally on art and heritage interpretation, she is now a freelance writer, editor and translator – focusing mostly on art.

© Gesiye/Amgueddfa Cymru - Museum Wales


More like this