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Crown Heights Artist Wins Prize from Center for Photography at Woodstock

Winner Keisha Scarville is a Flatbush native and current Crown Heights resident.
A self portrait by Keisha Scarville.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) announced Keisha Scarville, a Crown Heights resident, as the winner of its inaugural Saltzman Prize.

The Saltzman Prize recognizes extraordinary achievement by an emerging photographer, one whose work has recently gained visibility and whose voice adds new perspectives to visual culture, according to a news release.

Scarville makes photographs that explore themes dealing with cultural identity, transformation, and loss. Born in Flatbush to Guyanese parents who had emigrated to New York in the 1960s, Scarville was raised with an innate sense of displacement. Her Passport series (2012-16), alludes directly to immigration, using dozens of identical black-and-white passport photographs of her father that have been painted, collaged, scratched, or bedazzled. These small works offer a wry commentary on the shifting status of immigrants, and on place, longing, invisibility, and censorship. In her series Mama's Clothes (2015-ongoing), Scarville created portraits using her dead mother's clothing, exploring the collaboration between absence and landscape to foster a space that enables the reemergence of her mother’s presence through her own body and identity. 

“I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the inaugural Saltzman Prize," said Scarville, who was an artist in resident at CPW in 2003. "CPW holds such a significant place in my development and journey as an image maker, and I feel immense gratitude to be part of such a rich and brilliant legacy.”

Scarville will be awarded the prize at the CPW Vision Awards in Kingston, N.Y., on April 20, 2024. She will also receive a $10,000 award, and a solo exhibition of her work at CPW’s booth at PHOTOFAIRS NY at the Javits Center, New York, September 6-8, 2024.