“In April this year I travelled to the Syrian border with an art project, to mentor over 350 Syrian refugees under the age of fifteen. I was faced with a colourful, extraordinary landscape and the most beautiful, hospitable people you could meet, juxtaposed with centuries of history and tragedy. Thousands of refugees are making do with whatever they have.”
Previously Black has sourced research material, images and personal stories via the Internet or correspondents in particular conflict zones. However, in April this year she travelled with the Karam Foundation as an art mentor to Syrian Refugees. Travelling with a team of over 40 mentors from all over the world, Karen worked with the Al Jeel School for Syrian refugees in Reyhanli, Turkey. The program helps over 300 children who are currently displaced along the Syrian-Turkish border, many of whom have not been to school for over three years due to the civil war in their country. This body of work represents a poignant visual translation of the experiences she bore witness to.
Black’s work can be found in various public collections including Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; the Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane; Artbank, Sydney; the Macquarie Group Collection and the Salsali Private Museum, Dubai. International solo exhibitions include presentations at ARTHK12, Hong Kong (2012); Art Fair Tokyo (2012); Art Stage Singapore (2011) and Art Taipei (2011). Black has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Art & Australia/Credit Suisse Contemporary Art Prize, 2013, and Griffith University Art Gallery’s GAS Award, 2011.