@hyperallergic - link in bio
Self is from Harlem, New York City; if you type in “bodega” on Yelp, and select Harlem as the location, it’ll yield approximately 387 results. Like other neighborhoods, Harlem has borne the brunt of gentrification. But bodegas have always subsisted in lower-income neighborhoods, even as they transform into wealthy, unaffordable spaces. Bodegas are like small bastions of earlier generations — palimpsests of a community. The patrons might shift with the neighborhood’s demographics, but bodegas are often steadfast, changing little. As such, they’re easy to fetishize, and easier still to brand. In Self’s hands, the bodega’s a playful backdrop for her characters — most of them women — to be bored or joyful, innocuously finishing tasks or happily consuming candy. She gives them, as always, plenty of space.