Kaneem Smith was born in Buffalo, NY, raised and based in Houston where has she has been a practicing visual artist and fine arts educator since 2003. She had studied at Rice University and the Maryland Institute College of Art before receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Sarah Lawrence College, and then her Master of Fine Arts Degree from Syracuse University.
She has exhibited at the Mönchskirche Museum in Germany; Texas Southern University Museum; Project Row Houses, and at Dallas Center of Contemporary Art, among others. Her work has been included in numerous group shows in venues, such as the Art League Houston, Station Museum of Contemporary Art; Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ; Amarillo Museum of Art; National Art Gallery, Athens, Greece; Lima Art Museum, Peru, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Kaneem has received several awards for her work including an Artadia Award and Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 2017.
About here work, Ms. Smith said, "Since childhood I have long been captivated by the concept of acquiring raw organic, plant-based and synthetic fibers and then transforming that material for non-utilitarian use and occasional aesthetic significance. Textile as something tactile and having its own visual prowess, my research-based interests lies in how the usage of the medium has evolved over time and has been carried into a contemporary and accepted art practice. In creating sculptural works out of fabric materials such as burlap formerly used for import/export purposes, referencing concerns on ethical trade, colonialist interactions on the natural environment, and contemporary issues concerning global civil rights and connecting it to my cultural complexity continues to be carried out into current events.
"Bearing witness to how certain contemporary American and International artists of color emerged from more traditional craft beginnings in their careers into prominent creative figures in the greater art world has especially been inspiring for me. The utilization of fiber material as a primary medium in my work is entwined with racial, classicism, sexual inequality, social politics and American history for example, and all of it continues to drive and motivate my practice."