Chakaia Booker's work is loaded with social concerns that come from the gut and the heart, merging flavors from the American South and the American North. Spirit Hunter, Self-Portrait, Homage to Thy Mother, It's So Hard to Be Green, and Repugnant Rapunzel (Let Down Your Hair) are notably visceral and, like a good fairy tale, both literal and figurative.
To realize her projects, Booker has converted tires and rubber into fluent materials, and she has woven their textures, treads, smells, scars, burn and skid marks, and hues into symphonic compositions. Booker's oeuvre indirectly calls attention to slavery, the industrial revolution, the working class, and factory labor, and more directly it addresses the remarkable qualities of rubber. All of Booker's materials to date - rubber, fiber, wood, metal, food, and furniture, to name some of the main ingredients in her ever-expanding artistic vocabulary - remind us of their origins, history, and use. It is not exaggerating to say that Booker's work often alludes to the fields of archaeology, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.
Booker earned an undergraduate degree in sociology from Rutgers University in 1976 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from City college of New York (CUNY) in 1993. She has had solo exhibitions at the Neuberger Museum of Art, the Akron Museum of Art, and Marlborough Gallery, and her work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She participated in the Whitney Biennial in 2000, in the "Twentieth Century American Sculpture" exhibition at the White House in 1996, and in many shows in the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands.
Booker has received awards from the Anonymous Was A Woman in 2000, The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2002. In 2003, spring and fall exhibitions, at the Storm King Sculpture Park and Marlborough Gallery respectively. She has also lectured at the University of Michigan's Institute for Research on Women and Gender and School of Art and Design, and also at venues in New Orleans and Colorado.