Carrie Mae Weems
(Portland, Oregon, 1953 - )
Lives Syracuse, New York
Carrie Mae Weems is the fifth recipient of the Akron Art Museum’s Knight Purchase Award for Photographic Media. Established by the Museum and funded by a generous endowment gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Knight Purchase Award is presented annually to a key figure on the international art scene working with photographic media. Artists are honored by the purchase of their work for the Museum’s collection and also receive a medal commemorating their award.
Weems is one of the leading contemporary artists working today with conceptual photography. Conceptual photographs—often manipulated in the darkroom or combined with text—are used to embody a thought or idea rather than just illustrate an object. Over the past decade, Weems has used her art to address diverse situations including racial discrimination and family conflict. Her unique approach to these issues combines photographs, texts, personal experience and the history and folklore of African-American heritage. Through her work, Weems poetically educates viewers by asking them to ponder how past occurrences, behaviors, and mistakes have shaped present social conditions.