Thomas Allen Harris

The work of Thomas Allen Harris explores desire, ambivalence and the construction of diasporic identity through a critical engagement with questions of blackness, sexuality and the body. Foregrounding the position of artist as "cultural warrior," Harris meshes performance with personal narrative in order to articulate the multiple positions possible within "difference." Writes Harris: "The programs I produced came out of my experiences as a black gay male raised in a working-class community in the Bronx, who has lived and traveled abroad in Africa and Europe... It was in the process of attempting to hold true to these experiences that I became increasingly aware of my relationship to, and my personal investment in, the subject matter I approached. I was interested in disclosing this investment in ways that were critical, self-reflexive, and accessible."

In addition to producing films, installations, and experimental video works, Harris has produced documentaries for public television. His 2001 documentary E Minha Cara/ That's My Face received numerous international awards and premiered at major film festivals.

Thomas Allen Harris was born in 1962 in the Bronx, New York, and spent his adolescent years in Tanzania. He received a B.F.A. from Harvard University. While living in Italy he worked for Vogue as a photographer. Harris participated in the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program, and gained an M.F.A. in Film/Video from Bard College. He has received grants and awards from the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Paul Robeson Fund, the Lannan Foundation, and the Helena Rubinstein Fellowship. His television documentary work has been twice nominated for an Emmy Award. Harris' works have been screened at the New York, Berlin, Toronto, Antwerp, Sundance, and San Francisco Film Festivals; the Institute of Contemporary Art, London; and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. He was included in the 1995 Biennial Exhibition of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He lives in La Jolla, California.