Chakaia Booker, born in Newark, New Jersey in 1953, is an internationally acclaimed sculptor whose powerful pieces are created from discarded truck, car, and bicycle tires. Booker employs these forms to comment on themes ranging from black identity to urban ecology. The hardiness and adaptability of the tires represent, according to Booker, “the survival of the Africans in the diaspora.” In the black color of the tires she sees African skin, and the patterned treads represent tribal designs. Booker draws upon Louise Nevelson’s constructions of found objects, Romare Bearden’s energetic collages, and Jacob Lawrence’s manipulation of color and composition to form her own vigorous sculptures.
A sensation at the 2000 Whitney Biennial, Booker’s work was the subject of a retrospective at the Jersey City Museum, NJ and an expansive solo exhibition at Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York, both in 2004. Notable group exhibitions include shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, and the Corcoran Biennial, Washington, DC. A past winner of a Pollock-Krasner Award, Booker was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 2005. In 2006, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, opened an important solo exhibition of Booker’s work. Recent outdoor solo exhibitions of the artist’s work were held at The Sculpture Park at Moore in Aviator Park, Moore College of Art, Chicago, Illinois, and at the Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey.