I am a conceptual mixed media artist, addressing issues of colorism and race. I seek to break stereotypes and address issues related to my life. My artwork is steeped in oral history and is an expression of the narrative. As a storyteller, I impart conceptualized stories about the “other” in society. I view myself as a vehicle for ancestral stories to transcend history and remain part of the historical record. The canvas of my artwork is fabric which I age and imbue with conceptualized images of a forgotten part of the American story. Using images and text, I embed the cloth with the hopes and visions of my ancestors, particularly those whose stories have remained invisible. Whether woven or stitched, every time my weft crosses the warp or my needle pierces the cloth, it reaches through another layer of scorched earth that slavery has left behind. In this way I attempt to reframe critical issues of race.
Karen Hampton (born January 28, 1958, in Los Angeles, California) is an African American conceptual mixed-media artist addressing issues related to race. She was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2000 from the University of California, Davis. In 2008, she received the Fleishhacker Foundation’s Eureka Award. Her artwork is exhibited internationally and is in the collection of the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum and the Honolulu Museum of Art. Currently, she holds the position of Designer in Residence at Michigan State University in Critical Race Issues.