CHERICE HARRISON-NELSON 2018-11-14T15:13:42-05:00

Project Description

THE ICON: Cherice Harrison-Nelson

THE LEGACY: Cherice Harrison-Nelson was born into the Mardi Gras Indian tradition. Her father, Donald Harrison Sr., who masked for nearly a half-century, was Big Chief of the Guardians of the Flame, which he founded. His daughter, who works nonstop to spread knowledge of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, has been the group’s Big Queen. But that’s not all. She has traveled internationally to perform and speak about Mardi Gras Indian culture, and she co-founded and curated the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame. With Karen Celestan, she wrote “So, So Pretty: Mardi Gras Indian Queens of New Orleans.” Her explanation for her zeal is simple: “When you start doing it, it really becomes a way of life.”

THE ARTIST: Jeremy Paten

THE INSPIRATION: “It’s not traditional Western aesthetics. Nothing to do with Vogue. Nothing to do with size or height. Once you put on your ceremonial attire in this community, you will be affirmed as pretty. Because normally I wouldn’t fit a Vogue standard of beauty, but when I put that attire on, people are going to tell me all day long, ‘You’re pretty, that’s pretty, you’re beautiful.'” — Cherice Harrison-Nelson, in a 2014 interview with The Times-Picayune