Chakaia Booker

Booker is an African-American artist who works primarily with used tires to construct sculptures and installations. Describing herself as a narrative sculptor, Booker attributes cultural and social significance to the choices she makes with respect to both material and form.

Initially, Booker was attracted to tires because she believed their aesthetic qualities to be similar to African patterns, prints and scarification, but she found that their function also provided conceptual links to ideas of mobility, endurance and progress.

"People begin like newly treaded tires," says Booker, "but, as life continues, experiences wear down their vitality much as the tread on tires wears smooth."

Booker's sculptures are dense, twisting assemblages that use the binding nature of rubber to maintain their formal structures. They range in scale from small pedestal pieces to large wall reliefs and freestanding outdoor works. The artist makes a stubborn material appear flexible and sensitive by manipulating it through cutting, shredding, layering and other methods. Transformed within her massive assemblages, the tires subtly lose their identity as functional objects.

"[My] sculpture derives from and symbolizes personal issues and historical events. It suggests the many dimensions of human adversity and the hope for internal awakening which can lead to positive changes...through collective effort."