Born in Detroit, 1980, Laith Karmo attended the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, receiving his BFA in 2004 and Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI earning his MFA in 2006. Since then his work has been exhibited in Detroit and New York, including the recent feature of his expansive installation, Cultivating Civility, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. In 2011, he was awarded a Kresge Artist Fellowship. He lives and works in metro-Detroit.
Laith Karmo has great interest and investment in cultural production. He is observant of the vastly diverse and changing landscape of metro-Detroit in which histories are physically deconstructed and revealed while others are assembled often in faux mimicry. He is also, like his family, involved in food distribution and recognizes the needs of communities through the commonality of edibles and sustainability. His early work explored the re-creation of tools used at grocery stores, the relationship between ancient cities and suburban environments, and the possibility of nomadic existence. In his recent work, Cultivating Civility, Karmo forms an extended ‘cosmos’ of ceramic forms, converging multiple histories and cultures just as Ceramics has over its ten thousand-plus-year history. While his vessels and staffs pay homage to their origin, they are not intended as replications or artifacts. Instead, they are abstractions or interpretations that subjugate ceramics technical prowess and at times material origin (their sources may be basketry or wares of metal, wood, or glass) to extract what was at the core of these historical objects making. He seeks their potential mysticism or spiritualism, that either reality or history has offered them. In doing so, Latih Karmo forms a universe of longing, a foretelling sign of what we have lost and what we desire while also offering a solution