Profile: Tameka Norris (1979-)

Tameka Norris is an American visual and performing artist. Norris uses painting, sculpture, and performance art to create work about racial identity and the simultaneous visibility and invisibility of blackness through cultural appropriation in modern society. Her work critiques the presence of the black body in the history of painting and fine art

Early life and education

Norris studied at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, and moved to the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture in 2007. Norris went on to receive her Master of Fine Art degree from Yale School of Art in 2012.

Work and career

Norris is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa. She has studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2009)  and has participated in many artist residencies including the MacDowell Colony (2016) and The Fountainhead Residency She was a Fellow at the Grant Wood Art Colony from 2016 – 2017.

Norris was listed as one of “24 Artists to Watch in 2013” by Modern Painters magazine

Visual art

In 2012 her work was included in the “MFA Annual” edition of New American Painting magazine, an anthology of MFA graduate work from more than a hundred colleges in the United States.


Her feature length-film Meka Jean: How She Got Good, is an internal investigation of identity and culture, starring the artist as herself in a search for identity, home, and what it means to be from New Orleans. This film was debuted during the international exhibition Prospect.3 New Orleans,and was presented as a multi-chambered installation at May Gallery, a nonprofit art space in New Orleans.

In 2011, Norris created a work of video art re-performing Bruce Nauman’s 1967-68 work Walking in an Exaggerated Manor Around the Perimeter of a Square. This piece was shown in her 2013 “Family Values” exhibition at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans.


In 2016 Norris released a conceptual rap album titled “Ivy League Ratchet” in conjunction with a four-person exhibition at the SVA Chelsea Gallery titled “The Beat Goes On”. This album spoke about issues such as being a woman of color and attending an Ivy League school.

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