While interested in creative projects from an early age, Kiona's serious artistic development began in her early teens. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy for three years as a Visual Arts major, where she narrowed down her creative interests to photography and fiber arts, and graduated in 2009. Kiona obtained a BFA in Photography and a minor in Art History from Pratt Institute in 2013. From the Permanent Collection was completed for her BFA solo show, featured on Pratt's campus in Brooklyn, NY. She subsequently moved to Berlin, Germany, where she worked as an artist, photographer, videographer, and gave private lessons to other artists. Driven by the desire to make her visual work interactive, she completed an MFA in Computational Studio Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London. In addition to her creative practice, she is currently a PhD student in the Computing Department at Goldsmiths, where she is researching and creating new amateur-friendly software for 3D human avatar generation, with emphasis on diversity and the politics of the body and digital embodiment.
Kiona's wide variety of interests across computational and artistic media, combined with her academic interests related to art history, gender, and queer studies, exhibit a strong influence on her photographic work. Her own experience as a queer woman factors strongly, and she uses her artistic work to discuss community and societal dynamics related to gender and sexuality, among other topics. In particular, examining history, and the role of visual art in the production of historical narrative, allows her to critique the ways in which that imagined history is used to control the present and future. Through her work, she negotiates her place and the place of others in art, art history, visual media, and society.
Kiona Hagen Niehaus was raised in rural Washington state and now resides in London, UK. She has been involved in a variety of collaborative projects, and is currently a contributing member of COVEN Berlin. She enjoys citrus fruit, spicy food, and resisting heteronormativity. Her creative heart lives in Berlin.