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Portrait of Lela Harris

Lela Harris

Artist Independent United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, GB Creative industries

Lela Harris is a self taught artist, originally from Manchester but now living in Kendal, in the English Lake District. Creatively curious by nature, her work is inspired by the possibilities of different mediums, learning new techniques and exploring a wide range of surfaces; resulting in an eclectic mix of work, with a strong focus on portraiture. Harris’ emotive figurative work is driven by a desire to uncover the stories of those forgotten and marginalised by society by exploring our understanding of the day to day lives, hopes, dreams and fears of ordinary people in a bid to close the gap between past and present; and shine a light on the everyday.

Along with her recent solo exhibition at Judges’ Lodgings Museum ‘Facing the Past : Black Lancastrians’ which explores the lives of 18th Century Black Africans and Lancaster’s links to Slavery, Harris was also commissioned in 2022 by the Folio Society to produce the first illustrated edition of ’The Colour Purple’ by Alice Walker.

News posts

  • Archive material informs new portraits of enslaved Black Africans
    Works in progress in the Artists Studio. In copyright.
    Lela Harris
    News Created: 16 October 2023 Lela Harris Beth Daley

    Archive material informs new portraits of enslaved Black Africans

    As part of our contribution to Black History Month 2023, we talk to artist Lela Harris, who created six new portraits of enslaved Black Africans for a UK museum trying to address the imbalance in its portrayal of its city’s involvement in enslavement in the 1700s.