Iris Dawn Parker is a photographer and visual artist living in South Africa. She has exhibited her photographs internationally and currently (2016) is exhibiting a series titled " Quotidian Life: the importance of small things" at the Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria South Africa. Iris holds a Masters degree in Fine Arts from Ohio University, USA. She has experience in various leadership roles and is a Fulbright Memorial Fellow. Most recently she was selected as a Leadership Scholar at the Arcus Center for Social Justice residency program and worked for several years as the Academic Manager for the Cultural Studies Program at Columbia College Chicago, USA.
And in South Africa, she recently exhibited a series of photographs at the Uhuru International Arts Festival titled: "Nguni Cattle: gentle beast of Zululand". She also worked as a voice coach for the production "A Raisin in the Sun" at the Market Theatre, 2016. In 2013 Iris worked as the Program manager for a photojournalism and documentary photography program at the Market Photo Workshop. In addition, she has been involved in South African Arts and Culture through her residencies, exhibitions and curatorial projects at several major South African Universities, including The University of Witwatersrand, the Africa Gender Institute at University of Cape Town and the Human Science and Research Council at Rhodes University, University of Johannesburg and University of Pretoria.
Iris is a sought after lecturer, writer and artist. She continues to work on various projects using photography, sculpture and other media to explore subjects of societal interest such as image, identity formation and displacement through a personal and provocative lens. Recently she published her first photography book titled, Quotidian life: the importance of the small things . It is a book of images and narratives depicting everyday life in contemporary South Africa portrayed through images of her intimate, interactions within communities.
She is passionate about building a future generation of talented artists who can preserve their history through visual storytelling, that is why she mentors and advises several emerging South African photographers. Her work as an artist, teacher and mentor to youth, explores issues of culture, identity formation, gender, family and community. Since the 90’s Iris has been actively involved in educating youth by conducting photography and life skills workshops from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to townships and rural areas such as Tembisa, Limpopo, Xihosana Village and KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.