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Sculptor Chakaia Booker to visit as artist-in-residence

Sculptor Chakaia Booker as will be the first artist-in-residence in the Amy Marie Sears Memorial Visiting Artist Series.
Sculptor Chakaia Booker as will be the first artist-in-residence in the Amy Marie Sears Memorial Visiting Artist Series.
Photo submitted.

St. Catherine University welcomes internationally acclaimed sculptor Chakaia
Booker to inaugurate the Amy Marie Sears Memorial Visiting Artist Series from
Feb. 20 through Feb. 23, 2012.

In a featured event, art students and the wider St. Catherine University community will be invited to work with Booker on the creation of “Repurposing,” an installation in the Second Floor Gallery of the Visual Arts Building. Booker will also give a public lecture on her work on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Visual Arts Building Lecture Hall at St. Kate's.

A New York East Village artist, Booker has long worked with discarded materials, exploring and redefining their meaning and purpose. Her choice of materials, particularly her use of rubber tires, lends deep layers of meaning to her work, infusing the sculptures with social, political and cultural undertones.

For Booker, the sculptures created with tires address African-American identity, symbolizing the strength of African-American resilience, while the color nuances evoke the complexities of the African Diaspora. The tread patterns and repetitive geometric shapes in Booker’s work are also reminiscent of traditional African textiles.

Booker, who lives in New York and works in Manhattan and Allentown, Pa., has pieces in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York, and the Museum of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Washington, D.C. She has exhibited throughout the U.S. as well as
internationally, including Galeria Marlborough in Madrid, Spain, and Galerie
Pfriem in Lacoste, France.

sculpture_artistBooker is a carefully assembled artist who sees herself as a sculpture in the way she presents herself and the daily tasks that she performs. She often dresses herself in wearable sculptures which are also used as clothing and head-coverings. Booker has studied a variety of different subjects including African dance, ceramics, weaving, basketry and t’ai chi, all of which contribute to her artistic practices in unexpected ways.

Booker states:
“My intention is to translate simple, yet complex, materials into imagery that stimulates people to reconsider the expressive nature of art and how broad complex cultural transformations can, and will, continue to be expressed through common materials. My desire is to create, through whatever materials I choose, to explore my ever changing voice.”

Upcoming events

Booker will be an artist-in-residence in the Department of Art and Art History at St. Kate's from Feb. 20-23, 2012, where she will work directly in the studio with art students and graduating art majors.
Above left, a sculpture by Chakaia Booker.

Members of the St. Kate’s community are invited to bring in and rework objects during two open studio sessions on Feb. 20 and Feb. 22 from 3 – 5 p.m. in the Second Floor Gallery of the Visual Arts Building. Participants are invited to bring in discarded items such as CDs, makeup, clothing, shoes, accessories, books, food, food containers, photos, or electronic equipment.

The final sculptures from the open studio sessions will be included in “Repurposing,” an installation in the Visual Arts Building’s Second Floor Gallery that will be completed at the end of the residency.

Booker’s visit to St. Catherine University will culminate with a public lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23 in the Visual Arts Building Lecture Hall, to be followed by a reception to unveil “Repurposing.”

About the series

Established in memory of Amy Marie Sears, a promising 1995 studio art major who passed away in 1997, the annual Amy Marie Sears Memorial Visiting Artist Series invites a distinguished artist to St. Catherine University for a one-week residency.

For further information on the 2012 Amy Marie Sears Memorial Visiting Artist Series, contact Kathleen Harris, at (651) 690-6636 or email

Feb. 1, 2012 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Arts, Leadership, Students