Claire Beckett
A woman in Islamic garb, seated and holding her daughter on her lap.

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April and her daughter Sarah
Collection of the artist, courtesy of Carroll and Sons Art Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts

Before earning an MFA in photography at the Massachusetts College of Art, Claire Beckett studied anthropology at Kenyon College and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. Beckett’s background in anthropology and her experience in the Republic of Benin, a Christian, Muslim, and Animist country, threads through her current project, The Converts, about the experiences of American converts to Islam. In April and her daughter Sarah, Beckett juxtaposes the Christian cultural reference of the Madonna and Child in her subjects’ pose with April’s conservative covering, which expresses her Salafi faith. Through this mixing of motifs, Beckett challenges cultural assumptions and presents the viewer with a richer understanding of the nature of what it means to be an American.