Lorna Simpson is an American artist, born in 1960, who lives and works in New York.
She uses photography, video and collage to explore identity – which means what makes us who we are – using her own experiences as a Black woman to inspire her work.
She is most well known for her powerful artworks that combine photographs with words. In these works she questions and challenges narrow and conventional ideas about women, culture and race.
Because she uses photography to explore ideas rather than just taking photos of things she sees around her, she is sometimes described as a conceptual photographer.
Lorna Simpson was one of a group of artists who became well known in the 1980s for exploring themes and ideas relating to identity politics in their work. Identity politics focuses on the lives and experience of those who are often marginalised in society such as Black people, women and gay people. (Marginalised means pushed to the side, forgotten about, or not treated as important). Identity politics aims to make others aware of the issues and unfairness that these marginalised people have to face.
She started off taking photographs of things she saw around her – but soon realised that she wanted more directly to explore the ideas and issues that she felt strongly about. So she began to take carefully posed photographs in her studio. By putting words alongside the photographs she could express even more powerfully what she felt.