Cherice Harrison-Nelson

New Orleans, Louisiana

About Cherice Harrison-Nelson

A creator of installations and performances that challenge the hierarchies of gender and class, Cherice Harrison-Nelson is a leader of the African-American Carnival dress art tradition that uses narrative beadwork, dance, featherwork, and chanting with percussive instrumentation. She is the third of five generations in her family to participate. A co-founder/curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, Harrison-Nelson co-edited seven publications/books and coordinated numerous exhibitions and panel discussions focused on our region’s West African-inspired cultural expressions. As an artist, she has exhibited and performed internationally, produced films, audio recordings, and theatrical productions. Her work is in the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum's collection. She is the recipient of 2016 USA Artist Fellowship, Fulbright scholarship, and Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities honor. She was the lead artist in an exhibition at the Mary C. O’Keefe Center in Mississippi (January-April 2019) that featured 11 suits, assemblages, archival photographs, and narrative text.

Program Participation

Joan Mitchell Center Residency, 2020

As an African born in America without a clear pathway back to my ancestral homeland, the narrative attire and original visual-art creative expressions of my West African ancestry serve to reconnect me, one bead and one stitch at a time. Beading is a laborious obsession. The process and the content of my creations guide my life.”