Kayla Gifford was raised in Aiken, South Carolina, in a conservative, evangelical community and homeschooled through most of her youth. At age 16 she left her hometown to attend a public boarding school for emerging artists, The SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, SC. She studied sculpture at Memphis College of Art, and Clemson University prior to a 6 year career in the construction industry as a project manager. Gifford’s multimedia art practice explores the humor, intensity, challenges, beauty, and politics, of cultural intersection through the lens of her marriage to partner Ronnie Khoder. Currently, Gifford is pursuing a BFA in Sculpture and studying Arabic at The Ohio State University where she is committed to a body of undergraduate research exploring the complex histories of U.S. and Iraqi relations, orientalism, displacement, privilege, and American Imperialism. Her work is an inquiry into how these unfold in her personal relationship with her partner, their families and community. Her research has spurred interdepartmental collaboration, has received numerous awards, and has been exhibited in shows on and off campus. Gifford was recently awarded honorable mention by the International Sculpture Center for Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture in Summer of 2019.
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