Cherice Harrison Nelson
Cherice Harrison-Nelson is an educator, a narrative visual and
performance artist, and an arts administrator. As the co-founder and
curator of the former Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, she served as coeditor of numerous publications, as well as coordinated numerous exhibitions and panel discussions that focused on West African inspired cultural traditions
Her creative expressions have been performed and exhibited throughout New Orleans and the world. Her hand-beaded Carnival Day ceremonial attire worn by her son was acquired by the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum in Washington, DC. Her production credits include: a documentary, playwright, and composer, and won an award for the narrative short film, “Keeper of the Flame.” She is the recipient of several honors including: Fulbright Scholarship, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Teacher of the Year, Mayor’s Arts Award and 2016 United States Artist Fellowship.
She approaches her art as a cognitive provocateur, with the specific intent to engage observers through imagery and performance that simultaneously explores femininity, classism and other limiting/confining norms. Her work is primarily autobiographical as well as simultaneously ancient and contemporary. She uses imagery from her family history,
ancestral homeland and life experiences, she is her primary muse. “I am not masking when I debut my ceremonial attire on Carnival morning, I am revealing my authentic self, naked and rooted in the strength of my personal history. I cannot mask as myself.” She is currently appearing throughout the City of New Orleans as her contemporary Plague Doctor character that's focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, She is currently at work writing her autobiography, tentatively titled: Queen Reesie: Pretty, Pretty and So Much More.
Cherice and her mother at 1525 Louisiana
Some of Cherice's previous work.
Cherice and Arthur began their collaboration at a Mardi Gras party in the French Quarter and it is a divine one. Harrison-Nelson had grown tired from people exploiting her hard work and not being compensated. She made the decision to limit her public appearances as Queen Reesie to avoid the use of her artistic expressions without her consent. As collaborators, Arthur and Cherice have worked together to document Queen Reesie in ceremonial attire of her creations. Her original wearable art are key in her performance installations. Together they have amassed a body of work that documents Queen Reesie through Arthur's fine art photography. From the very beginning, they have built a trust in each other's talents. He photographed her bearing her breast bearing her cancer surgical/battle scar in a series titled, "Warrior Queen." On a random Thursday afternoon, she passed his apartment spotting a huge tree that Hurricane Ida blew over with stacked debris and knew immediately she wanted to be photographed as the Plague Doctor. Later that same day, he staged her creating beautiful body of work showing the pure power of Mother Nature. Their work have appeared in , “Art in America,” "Mardi Gras Indians," by LSU press.and have been in the annual MLK Art Show, and on the cover of the exhibition catalog.
When they get together emotions run the gamut from spirited laughter to gentle sobs and everything in between, divine indeed.