Charmaine Bee is a multi-disciplinary artist, and herbalist, working in the mediums of video, movement, sculpture, writing, sound and textile. Their work is an investigation of the historical manifestations of African diaspora spirituality as well as their own Gullah heritage. Charmaine’s textile pieces incorporate natural materials from the Sea Islands in South Carolina, such as rice and indigo, that were harvested and processed by Black women during the era of American slavery, until a historic hurricane in 1863 wiped out the plantations.
Charmaine’s untitled indigo piece #3, portal series (2017) incorporates over 2,000 unbleached tea bags, stitched together meticulously into a quilt-like structure, which was then immersed in indigo. Creating crocheted structures out of fibers such as tea bags and silks, their textile work activates spaces, acting as portals for dreaming and inquiry, transcending the expanse of walls through a monumentality of scale.
Before earning an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2017, Charmaine received a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Charmaine has been an artist in residence at ACRE Residency in Steuben, Wisconsin, the Landing 3.0 Gibney Dance Center in New York, The Fountainhead Residency in Miami, Florida, the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica,CA and the Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn. Charmaine has also been the recipient of The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation Travel Grant, the Puffin Foundation Grant and the Brooklyn Arts Council Community Arts Foundation Grant.
Charmaine is from the Sea Islands of South Carolina, and are currently based in Bahia, Brazil.