By Emily Delgado
Christopher Harris, an associate professor in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Department of Cinematic Arts recently received the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.
The Herb Alpert Award is awarded to mid-career artists who have shown dedication and taking risks in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre, and visual artists. It carries a $75,000 unrestricted prize.
According to the award website, Harris’ body of work “bears witness to the impacts of anti-blackness and to neglected and misrepresented landscapes, stories, and histories.”
“I make art to have an impact, so this award is extremely validating in the sense that it is a very direct indication that my work is doing just that,” Harris says.
He says this is the first time in thirty years the award was granted to a UI faculty member.
“I’ve always said that the arts show us possibilities for reimagining the world for the better and help us more fully understand our collective and individual potentials,” Harris says. “There is a lot of cutting edge creative and scholarly research going on in cinematic arts and I hope this award helps shine a light on it.”
Harris says his work is supported by the university, college, and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at Iowa. Harris recently partnered with Obermann and two outside scholars to organize and host Frequências: Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Cinema & the Black Diaspora, a symposium at the University of Iowa highlighting the work of Black and Afro-Brazilian filmmakers.
“The events were aimed at the generation of new knowledge regarding the central question of how Black identity is figured in the new Afro-Brazilian cinema and how that resonates with Black cinema globally,” Harris explains.