Karen Caldwell: I am a British-born Barbadian artist who now calls the Twin Cities home. My artistic journey reflects my exploration into the intricacies and beauty of the African Diaspora.
My chosen medium is acrylic on canvas, and I use the term “Abstract Afrocentrism” to describe my work. This concept derives from the symbolic resonance of “to remove” and “to separate.” It signifies my intent to detach viewers from preconceived ideas they may hold to make room for a new cognitive experience.
A pivotal shift in my artistic approach occurred in 2022. Before this, my earlier figurative works embraced realistic skin tones and more literal portraits. Yet I felt that my art was not serving the purpose that I wanted it to. So, during this transformative phase, I embraced a multi-color mosaic technique that deliberately abstains from natural skin tones. This decision was made so that I could encourage viewers to perceive the genuine essence of each individual beyond superficial judgments rooted in their exterior.
Colors serve as the pulse of my creations, offering glimpses into transnational and diasporic experiences. The amalgamation of colors I use combines to make black—a symbol of unity and resonance amidst the myriad narratives of contemporary life. This deliberate palette underscores the shared humanity that transcends cultural confines, inviting the audience to embrace the interwoven bonds that all humans share, regardless of origin.
Through my creations, I strive to broaden the scope of representation of the black experience, transcending the often divisive narratives that prevail. My work seeks to etch an enduring imprint on the hearts and minds of people from every walk of life.
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Karen Caldwell takes commissions.
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