CARLA JAY HARRIS Flight
1110 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Harris’s new works are a continuation of her series Celestial Bodies, begun in 2018. Celestial Bodies explores Harris’s multicultural background and a youth spent living primarily outside the United States. In her search for understanding and belonging she was drawn to stories of mythology, which have become a central theme throughout her work and tap into a sense of kinship. In Flight finds its inspiration in Black American folktales and has allowed Harris to make her work more personal with a deeper connection to her own history and ancestral memory.
The first works in this series are inspired by the myths of the Flying African, based on old African folktales. The tales of the Flying African, often shared through oral traditions, spoke of enslaved Africans being lifted up and flying home through a magical passage over the ocean. These stories are filled with visual reminders of truth, freedom, and liberation; a secret language that spoke to those isolated and uprooted from their ancestral roots and removed from their native lands. Harris resonated with the powerful imagery of overcoming and transcending limits and was drawn to the unique overlaps with the themes within her own artistic practice.
As a trained photographer and cinematographer, Carla Jay Harris uses art, poetry, and historical archives to inform her research and provide inspiration. Harris found joy and fulfillment through these stories in giving these oral traditions physical forms and highlighting histories too often forgotten. Her work is informed by her multidisciplinary practice and bringing together image making, storytelling, and cultural histories.
Carla Jay Harris was born in Indianapolis, IN. She received her MFA from UCLA in 2015, a Bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Virginia, and completed post- Baccalaureate studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Harris’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV; the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, CA; Museum of Fine Arts Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO; the Southern, Charleston, SC; Moorpark Gallery, Moorpark College, Ventura, CA; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; and Paris Photo, Grand Palais Ephemere, Paris, France. She was awarded a 2020 residency at ACRE in Steuben, WI, and has been the beneficiary of several grants and fellowships, including the Hoyt Scholarship, Resnick Fellowship and a grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance. Harris’ works are included in the collections of USC Fischer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Escalette Permanent Collection of Art at Chapman University, Orange, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Sherbrook, Quebec, Canada; Los Angeles County Public Art Collection, Los Angeles, CA; and numerous private collections. Carla Jay Harris lives and works in Los Angeles.