2022 Corn Mother Honoree
My name is Adri Norris. I was born in Barbados and moved to New York when I was 5 years old. When I was 7, my brother had a tutor who showed me an art book featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci. I was floored. Up until that point, I had no idea that art is something that human hands could create. It wasn’t long before I announced that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up.
When I was 12, we moved to the campus of the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico, an international boarding school with students from over 75 countries around the world. My dad was a French teacher there, so I had the opportunity to spend time with teenagers from just about everywhere.
In 2005 I moved to Denver after spending 5 years in the Marine Corps and enrolled at the Art Institute of Colorado. I studied Media Arts and Animation and graduated with honors. There, we focused on digital artmaking, using over a dozen different types of software. I realized pretty quickly that animation takes FOREVER to create and I would rather be a fine artist, creating one painting at a time, than an animator creating 24 illustrations per second.
These days, I use my art to focus on telling the stories of the past. I use my experiences as a Black, lesbian, immigrant woman in America as a guide when it comes to selecting my subjects. The stories we don’t tell get lost or buried, so I have placed my focus on some of the most marginalized among us, to shift the narrative and seek equity in the conversations about our shared history.
“Take in the stories of those who are least like you. Do it through fiction, walk in their skin for a while. Only then will you understand how similar we really are. Only then will you find the value in our differences.”
Adrienne is on pages 63-66
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