Doris Salcedo was born in 1958 in Bogotá, where she continues to live and work. She earned a BFA at Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano (1980), focusing on painting and theater and studying under painter Beatriz González (b. 1938). She earned an MA in 1984 at New York University, and was influenced by the work of Joseph Beuys and his notion of “social sculpture,” integrating political awareness with art making. In 1985, she returned to Bogotá. Her first solo exhibition was mounted at the Casa de Moneda, Banco de la República, Bogotá in 1985. Interested in arts education, she worked as director of the Instituto de Bellas Artes, Cali (1987–88), and taught sculpture and art theory at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (1988–91). Her first solo show in the US was held at Brooke Alexander Gallery, New York, in 1994.
Recognized since the early 1990s as one of the leading sculptors of her generation, Salcedo has works in many museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Canada, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Tate. She has been featured in numerous exhibitions such as the Carnegie International 1995, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; Roteiros, XXIV Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (1998); Trace, the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art (1999); Documenta 11, Kassel (2002); the 8th International Istanbul Biennial (2003); the T1Triennial for Contemporary Art, Castello de Rivoli, Turin (2005); and produced the installation Shibboleth at Tate Modern, London, in 2007. Her awards include a Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Grant (1995), the Ordway Prize from the Penny McCall Foundation (2005), Premio “Velázquez” de las Artes Plásticas (2010), and the 9th Hiroshima Art Prize (2014).