Karen Graffeo is a photographer based in Birmingham, A.Her recent work includes an ongoing documentary series entitled Let Us Now Praise the Roma, exploring the lives of the Roma people and their encampments in Europe. Graffeo was originally drawn to Gypsy culture because of its similarities to her own childhood in the rural south. Not merely an observer, Graffeo photographs her subjects as a kindred spirit and has produced images of startling beauty and profound intimacy that depict a reality beyond stereotypes. This work has been exhibited in the United States in New York and Atlanta, internationally in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Paris, France as well as cities in Italy and Romania. Graffeo is currently preparing for an exhibition of the Roma photographs for the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham. Graffeo is the recipient of grants from the Alabama Arts Council, the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans and the Andy Warhol foundation. Graffeo earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Alabama and currently teaches at the University of Montevallo. With the support of the Tanne Foundation, Graffeo was able to revitalize her work as a choreographer and performer, completing live works as well as video-based performances. In the year of her Tanne award, Graffeo exhibited work in a solo exhibition at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art in Tuscumbia, AL, as well as group exhibitions in Tuscaloosa, AL, Krakow, Poland, and at Auburn University in Alabama.
This bio/description was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2015. For more current information, please refer to the award recipient's website (if provided).