Shanti Norris

Norris_ Shanti.jpg

I was named (middle name) after my father's mother Lorene Norris. I never knew her as she died long before I was born. My father James Norris and his brother Herman were raisied by a grandfather and never really knew their mother. I have never seen a photo of her. She has remained a mysterious figure who was separated from her husband and young children at an early age, for reasons that have never been explained. And yet, all my life I have felt her presence and her guidance whispering to me over my shoulder. I wanted to bring her out of the shadows and into the light through painting a portrait of her which bears a family resemblance to me, my sisters and daughter. It felt important to have her name and the names of her two young sons visible and part of the portrait. It has been a very moving experience for me to honor and connect with her in this way. She has been in the shadows long enough and her Scotch-Irish heritage continue into the future. Her struggles have helped make our world what it is and I am grateful for her sacrifices.