Iris Dawn Parker


Public bio

Iris Dawn Parker is a visual artist, curator and educator. Currently, she is working on two feature length documentary films, Portraits from South Africa and Women Loving Women. Iris is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia College Chicago, in the Department of Humanities, History and Social Science and she works as an independent artist, living and working between the U.S. and South Africa. Iris has maintained her passion for Africa and South Africa in particular. Throughout the past 15 years she has remained diligent in designing and organizing programs and workshops that support her values and beliefs in advocacy for youth development and mentorship. Her personal work in the arts and her professional work teaching and mentoring explores issues of identity, gender, family and community. “I believe such objectives as, teaching children life-skills and sharing one’s own gifts with others is clearly a part of life’s cycle. By providing opportunities for youth to contribute to their own personal development and self realization, we create environments where self esteem and confidence building happens naturally. Other objectives such as teaching by example in mentoring as well as empowering to give agency instead of providing charity are relevant actions that contribute to the continuous growth and development of youth. Each of these very important life skills helps to strengthen character and encourages them to succeed and lead a worthy life. “