Abena Motaboli

I am inspired by the stories the plants and the land tells us when we listen, and as an earth citizen and immigrant how grounded and interconnected we are through the soils.



The In-Session texts Peregrine and I chose to focus on for this Fellowship include the documentary In Our Mothers’ Garden (2021), the book All About Love: New Visions (1999) by bell hooks, and the poem “Ancestors I” by Tori Ashley Matos.

We are both of liminal diasporic spaces and we honor the dreams our ancestors had for us and these lands. Through the documentary In Our Mothers’ Garden, we identify with the resilience handed down to us through our matriarchal lineages.

Through All About Love, we look at what it means to love and how we can learn to love ourselves and each other towards tenderness and collective freedom (In the words of bell hooks on love: “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”).

Our work is deeply connected to our living environment, centered on reciprocal relationships with the earth and a love of this place we are on. Through “Ancestors I” by Tori Ashley Matos, we look at our practices of gratitude, reciprocal relationships with the land, and the ways the Earth loves us.


Abena Motaboli is a Basotho - Ghanian Interdisciplinary artist, educator, and writer based in Chicago. She grew up in Lesotho, Southern Africa before moving to the U.S where she obtained her bachelor's degree in Fine Arts at Columbia College Chicago. Her practice is interdisciplinary, experimental, and deeply rooted in a love of land, nature, and storytelling through the plants.

Image description: Abena Motaboli stands in a wheat field in front of a lake wearing a yellow sweater and black pants. She smiles looking directly at the viewer with one hand outstretched touching the plants next to her. Photo was taken by Kristie Kahns for Sixty Inches From the Center.


Works shown at The Other Art Fair

April, 2022

Fabric pieces consist of naturally dyed scarves displayed as a variable installation

Works shown at The Other Art Fair

April, 2022

Works shown at The Other Art Fair

April, 2022


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