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I am best known for my high-impact mixed-media paintings and  meditative live-braiding performances that feature kanekalon, a synthetic fiber used by African – Americans to style our hair. My process is inspired by a variety of well-known artistic traditions: Turner’s transcendent glow, the Gee’s Bend Quilters’ delicate hand-stitching, Gilliam’s and Pindell’s rich and relaxed substrates, Kiefer’s bold textures, Mehretu’s layering of histories and/as media, and AfriCOBRA’s, Bowling’s and Mayhew’s saturated palettes, to name a few. While my paintings center abstraction and landscape, there is special emphasis on materiality as the kanekalon functions both formally as a dimensional brushstroke and conceptually as a signifier of Black femme imagination. My passion for color underpins the work; in tandem with frequent use of glitter, metallics and intensely rendered light, the comprehensive effect is at once illuminated and unpretentious, playful yet sublime. My recent works also include a limited series of commissions that engage Picasso’s relationship with appropriation through a lens of reclamation. What ultimately binds my differing bodies of work together is my insistence upon integrating Black Art, Outsider Art and the Western Canon, resulting in unique transmutations that oscillate nimbly between difficult history and defiant joy.

I earned my BS with honors in Studio Art with a painting concentration from Skidmore College in 2009, and subsequently enrolled in the MFA program at Rhode Island School of Design in 2010. National exhibitors of my work include SPRING/BREAK Art Show NYC, The Fine Arts Center at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Aqua Art Miami Basel, and the Tang Teaching Museum. My work has been shown internationally at The Giving Circle in Jinja, Uganda, Galleria Huuto in Helsinki, Finland, and Galerie Critical Kunst in Berlin, Germany. My press features include Artsy, The New York Times, The New York Post, Abstractions Magazine, Emergency Index, VOL. 8., The Stamford Advocate, and Noah Becker’s Whitehot Magazine. I live and work in The Bronx, New York.



Katarra LaRae Peterson   

Born 1986, Vallejo, CA 




2010 MFA Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI  

2009 BS Studio Art, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (Magna Cum Laude)




“Entrepreneurial Arts Course,” Guest Lecturer, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, September 18, 2023, February 6, 2023, September 19, 2022, February 14, 2022

“Giving Light/Bidding for Change: Curating Carcerality,” Panelist, BronxArtSpace, Bronx, NY, July 1, 2023

“Entrepreneurial Artists’ Forum,” Panelist, Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY, March 23, 2023

“The Limit’s The Sky: Fine Arts, Healing and Community,” Panelist, Calabar Gallery, New York, NY, Nov 19, 2022

“More than an artist talk; a conversation about ‘Life, Death, Hereafter,’” Panelist, The Narthex at St. Peter’s Church, New York, NY, May 27, 2022 

“Artist Talk: In Conversation with Katarra Peterson,” Arcade Project (virtual), May 19, 2021



Select Exhibitions   

2023 “Giving Light/Bidding for Change,” BronxArtSPace, Bronx, NY, May 27- July 1

2022 “Structured Optimism,” Standard Space, Sharon, CT, September 3 – October 9

2022 “Life, Death, Hereafter,” The Narthex at St. Peter’s Church, New York, NY, April 4 – May 29

2021 “SPRING/BREAK Art Show: Heresay/ Heresy,” New York, NY, September 8-13, virtual through December 15

2021 “Fire Lit,” 545 Union Ave, Hudson NY, August 13

2021 “Talismans” (virtual), Monica King Projects, February 10 – March 31

2021 “Current | Undercurrent” (virtual), Fine Arts Center at University of Massachusetts Amherst, February 1 – May 14 (catalogue)

2020 “International Womxn’s Day Exhibition,” The Living Galllery, Brooklyn, NY, March 8

2020 “Shim/Experience,” Shim Art Network, New York, NY, February 27 – March 7

2020 “Roots and Roads,” Franklin Street Works, Stamford, CT, February 8 – May 10 (catalogue)

2020 “WIP: Women In Paint Invitational,” 68 Jay St, Brooklyn, NY, February 4 – March 7

2019  “Our Kingdom for Baked Alaska” (residency/ exhibition), Woodside Presbyterian Church, Troy, NY, August 27-31  

2019  “Rachet Opulence” (exhibited, co-curated), The H-Loft Space, New York, NY, August 17 

2018  “Uppity 2 (Special Project and Performance)” Aqua Art Miami, Aqua Hotel and Suites, Miami Beach, FL, December 5-9 

2018  “PopUppity,” The Living Gallery Outpost, New York, NY, August 12 

2018  “Black and White and Re(a)d” All Over: Part 3,” Galleria Huuto, Helsinki, Finland, May 5 – 27; Galerie Critical Kunst, Berlin, Germany, June 29- July 29  

2018  “Uppity,” Inaugural Residency, The Living Gallery Outpost, New York, NY, March 2-8  

2016  “No, You Can’t Touch My Hair” (solo), Arthelix Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, October 22-23 

2016  “Shim Presents: Permission Slip,” Arthelix Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, May 28-31 

2014  “Bushwick Blick,” Arthelix Gallery, Brooklyn, NY December 12-21  

2013  “Annual Members’ Show,” Saratoga Arts Council, Saratoga Springs, NY, December 2013-       January 2014   

2012  “35th Anniversary Masquerade,” Albany City Gallery, Albany, NY, December 

2012  “Summer Exhibition,” 190 Gallery, Glens Falls, NY, August-November 

2012 “The Giving Circle” (residency), Jinja, Uganda, June 29-July 12

2010  “First Friday,” Marketplace Gallery, Albany, NY, December 2010 – March 2011 

2010  “Red Dot Art Fair,” Skylight NYC, New York, NY, March 4-7     

2009  “New Perspectives in Contemporary Art,” Sundari Fine Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY,  July 18-31   

2009 “Thesis Exhibiiton,” Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY, May 8 – 16

2009  “Surface/Space” (solo), Case Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY, April 30- May 16  

2009  “Visual Poetry,” Case Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY, February 19-25