History in the Making: Carrie Mae Weems Is the First Black Woman to Receive the Hasselblad Award

Carrie Mae Weems. Image courtesy of Hasselblad Foundation © Rolex_Audoin Desforges.

On March 10, 2023, Carrie Mae Weems became the first Black woman to receive the highly prestigious Hasselblad Award. Later this year, Weems will officially accept the award at a ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Hasselblad Award was named after Swedish camera inventor Victor Hasselblad and has become one of the most significant forms of recognition across all genres of photography. Along with the honorable title, Weems will receive around $187,000.

Over the course of her career, Portland-born artist Carrie Mae Weems developed a wide range of art in a variety of mediums, although she is most well-known for her  photography series titled  The Kitchen Table Series (1990). Weems photographs people, their lives, and somehow through all of it, their stories and souls. The Gordon Parks Foundation writes, “Her work has led her to investigate family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems. She views her responsibility as an artist to make art that is beautiful and powerful; that shouts bravely from the roof-tops and storms barricaded doors; a voice specific to our historic moment.” 

Making history as the first Black woman to receive the Hasselblad Award is just one of the many ways Weems continues to leave her mark on the art world—changing the course of  history and making incredible art as she goes.

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