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Karyn Olivier, Visiting Artist 2017-18

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Karyn Olivier, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, creates sculptures, installations, and public art. In 2024, Olivier will unveil two memorials in Philadelphia—honoring a former slave at Stenton House, and commemorating more than 5,000 African Americans buried at Bethel Burying Ground. This year Olivier presented her second solo show at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. In 2022 Olivier participated in Documenta 15 and installed a permanent commission for Newark Airport’s Terminal A.

Olivier has exhibited at the Gwangju and Busan biennials, the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture (Dakar, Senegal), The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of Art, MoMA P.S.1, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh), SculptureCenter (New York), ICA Watershed Boston, among others. Solo exhibitions include Everything That’s Alive Moves at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (2020), and A Closer Look at

Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis (2007).

She has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Anonymous Was a Woman Award, the 2018–2019 Nancy B. Negley Rome Prize, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, a 2019 PEW Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts Award, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, the William H. Johnson Prize, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation

Biennial Award, a Creative Capital Foundation grant, and a Harpo Foundation grant. Olivier’s work has been reviewed in Artforum, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, Art in America, Flash Art, Mousse, The Washington Post, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Frieze, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Hyperallergic, among others.  Olivier received her MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and BA from Dartmouth College. She is currently Professor of Sculpture at Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University.

As the Department of Art, Architecture and Design’s inaugural Theodore U. Horger ’61 Artist in Residence for the Visual and Performing Arts, Olivier worked on two new installation projects, culminating in the exhibition Karyn Olivier at the Lehigh University Art Galleries, January 24–May 25, 2018.