With the pitch and timbre of an accomplished storyteller, Carrie Mae Weems examines issues of race, gender politics, and African-American identity in her photography. First picking up the camera for political rather than artistic purposes, Weems studied at the Studio Museum in Harlem in the 1970s with contemporaries Frank Stewart and Coreen Simpson. Weems uses her personal biography in combination with racist and misogynistic jokes, songs, and rebukes to stake claim to the narrative of an ordinary black woman in America. The recipient of a number of awards, Weems has been a visiting professor at both Harvard University and Wellesley College.
Weems has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships including the prestigious Prix de Roma, The National Endowment of the Arts, the Alpert, the Anonymous was a Woman and the Tiffany Awards. In 2012, Weems was presented with one of the first US Department of State’s Medals of Arts in recognition for her commitment to the State Department’s Art in Embassies program. In 2013 Weems was the recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014 she received the BET Honors Visual Artist Award.