Lake Erie College Welcomes Iris Dawn Parker as Spring Visiting Artist-in-Residence



Lake Erie College is welcoming Iris Dawn Parker as a Spring 2020 Semester Visiting Artist. Iris is an international photographer and scholar who grew up in Painesville Ohio and has lived and worked in South Africa for the past decade as an artist. She will be on campus for a reception Thursday, March 19, 2020 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. which will also include a conversation with Parker and Janine Hamilton at 6 p.m. in the James F. Lincoln Library where her work will be on display.

During her residency, Iris will not only present the exhibition of her photographs to the public at the library, she will also engage students in multimedia and visual storytelling workshops, conduct class presentations, introduce interdisciplinary concepts and dialogue around cultural exchange. Iris will also present her experience and journey during two public talks in the month of March. The first talk will be “Democracy in Action: Hello from South Africa” on Wednesday, March 25 at 5:30 p.m., followed by “My Afternoon with Madiba (Mr. Nelson Mandela)” on Saturday, March 28 at 2 p.m. All events are at the James F. Lincoln Library, free and open to the public and sponsored by Lake Erie College and the NAACP.

As a part of the Women’s History month, this exhibition of photographs celebrates the legacy of the impact women make in societies. The images shown in her photographs reflect women engaged in the power of democracy through their participation in quotidian celebrations of democratic and religious freedoms which impact contemporary South Africa, a nation once ruled under Apartheid. A part of the uniqueness of the photographs exhibited is that they are selected from numerous intimate portfolios that capture the country of South Africa from the gaze of an African American woman photographer.  Iris has documented this nation in transition for more than two decades and is presenting an exhibition of multiple visual stories, creating dialogue between South Africa and America.

Iris’s photos are captured in the tradition of the beloved Cleveland resident, Margaret Bourke White, an American photographer, who traveled to South Africa in the 1950’s and documented apartheid from a variety of angles. These true to life, archival black and white and color photographs open windows to everyday life in contemporary South Africa. They are photographs that were captured to document the turn of the 20th century into the dawn of the 21st Century in South Africa from a personal journey of an American female photographer.

Iris is a Fulbright Memorial Fellow Scholar. In 2018-2019 she was awarded the “Arts Alive” partnership from the City of Johannesburg. Over the past six years she has worked as the American Accent Coach for numerous theatre productions performed in South Africa. She has conducted photography and interdisciplinary workshops at institutions and in communities all over South Africa and the United States. In addition, Ms. Parker continues to pursue her career as an independent, published author and professional photographer.

Janine Hamilton was raised in Painesville and graduated from Thomas W. Harvey High School in 1970.  She then attended Bowling Green State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in English/Journalism in 1973. She continued her education and acquired a Master of Arts degree in English from Youngstown State University. Janine began her career as a high school English teacher at Liberty High School in Liberty Twp., Ohio, in 1974.  She served, educated, and uplifted the youth of that community for thirty-five years. She also served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Youngstown State University for five years. She is the co-author of a book titled Life Lessons for Little Learners.

Photo Credit: Iris Dawn Parker


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