Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Carrie Mae Weems is internationally recognized for her photography-based art that investigates issues of race, gender, and societal class. Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video presents more than 200 photographs, videos, and installations tracing the evolution of Weems’ career.
Carrie Mae Weems was introduced to photography in the late 1970s after working as a professional modern dancer and grassroots political activist in California. She was attracted to the medium because of its ability to give tangible, visual form to abstract political and social theories, particularly those related to African American experiences. Weems is also a poetic storyteller; powerful written or spoken-word narratives often accompany her images. In her earliest work, the artist looked to her own life and family as case studies for exploring contemporary African American identity. Weems’s narrative soon broadened to more general aspects of the African Diaspora, from the legacy of slavery to the perpetuation of both debilitating stereotypes and nourishing folk traditions. A desire to more deeply examine the underlying causes and effects of social injustice spurred Weems to explore the histories of Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean, as well as the southeastern United States.
An illustrated exhibition catalogue is available.
Portland Art Museum Website