My name is name is Amuri Morris and I’m studying studio art at Virginia Commonwealth University. My interest in art first developed when I was experiencing a brief period of homelessness as a child. Art became a form of escapism for me. The paintbrush in my hand allowed the boundary between reality and the imaginary to fade away. I began to see myself outside my circumstances and art became my vehicle for my individual journey of exploration and discovery. As I devoted myself to my art and my art class, my world seemed to improve.
My education will help me achieve my goal of being a studio artist and art teacher. My passion for art is the reason I want to enter my field as an art teacher and studio artist. The deprioritization of creativity in the classroom in favor of rehashed lesson plans stunts the development of a visionary lens and establishes limits for students, thus the line between reality and the imaginary becomes clearly defined.
Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Here “sight” is identical to the grace of an education and “visions” are the creative thoughts that such an education should stir. Therefore, my drive to enter my field is to ensure future generations are presented with an appropriate level of artistic nurturing to maximize their potential.
From my major I want to learn how to effectively translate my artistic ideas and learn how to foster childrens’ artistic capacity. As a studio artist, I will change the world because I believe the messages in my work are powerful. My work focuses on the manifestation of identity, particularly black identity. This identity always forms to show the consistently powerful presence of the black figure.
In my work I’m rewriting the narrative that western visual media has historically established by elevating black figures to the role of the protagonist. There is a definite negative social identity that is imposed upon black youth when the media negates the idea of the “black hero”. My pieces break free from this imposed identity and explore new ranges. It’s important to see the black protagonist, the black leader, the black achiever.
A major in studio art would also equip me with the intellectual and critical tools necessary to succeed in the art world. The development of art over the centuries, including the social and political conditions behind the work and lives of some of the most important artists are a major part of the courses I will take. This will help expand my understanding of what it means to be an artist today. My training at VCU will also allow me to grow as an artist because I will be forced to break free from my artistic comfort zones.