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Carte Blanche: Ruth E. Carter

Mar 8, 2024
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
3530 SE Division St., Portland, OR
General accessibility

Rescheduled from January 12


In conjunction with Africa Fashion, PAM CUT’s newly opened Tomorrow Theater on Portland’s East side will host living legend and Academy Award–winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter as part of Carte Blanche, PAM CUT’s quarterly series giving polymath artists free rein to do what they want to do and share something new. Carter’s Carte Blanche weekend features her in a rare talk on January 12 moderated by Amy Dotson, Director of PAM CUT and the Portland Art Museum’s Curator of Film & New Media. Carter will reflect on her career as an artist, her influences from afrofuturism, and more. Her latest book, The Art of Ruth Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther, will also be available for sale.

  • Photo poster for movie Black Panther
    Free & discounted Screenings & experiences Tomorrow Theater

    Mar 7, 2024

  • Ruth E. Carter bio

    Ruth E. Carter is the two-time Academy Award winning American film costume designer. Best known for turning the Black Panther superhero into an African King, Carter makes history as the first Black person to win the Costume Design category and earns Marvel Studios their first Oscar recognition. For BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, Carter makes history, again, for her outstanding costume design work and becomes the first Black woman to win multiple Academy Awards in any category and the first costume designer to win for the first film and its sequel.

    Carter pays tribute to the people of Africa through the costumes in BLACK PANTHER and BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. She fuses traditional and contemporary while incorporating technology to deliver fashion and function, creating Afrofuturistic pieces that empower the female form, honor ancient cultures, and invoke a deep sense of representation unlike any other costumes experienced on screen. For BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, Carter transforms the groundbreaking Afrofuturistic Wakandan looks from the first film and introduces new superheroes and the underwater world of the Talokan into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    She was tasked with creating hundreds of costumes and multiple builds for superhero characters steeped in symbolism and storytelling from two civilizations that battle on land, in air, and underwater. Carter elevates the characters from the first film by adding more brilliance and depth of emotion and culture to the costumes and creates new wearable art with breathtaking pieces that honor post classic Mesoamerican Maya culture for the Indigenous futuristic Talokan.

    Over three decades in film, television, and theater, Carter has earned seventy credits and collaborated with prolific directors, including Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler. Carter’s costumes based on real and imaginative characters provide an arc to the narratives of African Americans from DO THE RIGHT THING, MALCOLM X, WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, AMISTAD, THE BUTLER, MARSHALL, SELMA, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME, COMING 2 AMERICA to BLACK PANTHER:WAKANDA FOREVER. Her devotion to retraining the eye to see beauty through costume design and telling stories that enrich the humanity of the Black experience cements her legacy as a preeminent voice and expert on period genres and Afro aesthetics.

    Carter’s outstanding costume design work has been honored with Academy Award nominations for MALCOLM X (1993) and AMISTAD (1998) and an Emmy nomination for the miniseries reboot of ROOTS (2016). The impact of her career in filmmaking has been recognized with the Costume Designers Guild’s Career Achievement Award (2019) and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2021). She is also a member of the board of governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her costumes serve as an American treasure of history and culture and are on display in a traveling museum exhibition titled “Afrofuturism in Costume Design” and in her book “The Art of Ruth E. Carter” – a behind-the-scenes journey in creating the most iconic costumes in filmmaking available May 2023.

    Carter is beloved in her hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts and was given the key to the city for her achievements and service to the community (2021). She is a graduate of Hampton University, Virginia (HBCU) and most recently served as their commencement speaker and was given the distinction of honorary doctorate. She holds an additional honorary doctorate from Suffolk University, Massachusetts.