Artability Artist Spotlight: Nikki Brown

This is the third of our four-part Artability Artist Spotlight series that highlights artists who are differently-abled, and runs throughout Alternate ROOTS’ Artability campaign. Artability provides scholarships for artists with disabilities to attend ROOTS Week. You can read the first two spotlights, featuring Camille Shafer and Samuel Valdez, on the ROOTS blog. To learn more about, or donate to, the Artability campaign, visit our Indiegogo page.

Nikki Brown

“For anybody who creates art, it’s a series of adaptations and modifications. And the art should stand alone and it should go on it’s own merit and not be special because you are a person with a disability, but because you are amazing.”

–Nikki Brown, Visual Artist & ROOTS Executive Committee Member, Durham, NC

Nikki Brown ArtNikki Brown is an Eastern North Carolina native and lifelong visual artist with a vested interest in fair play and a passion for hearing peoples’ stories. For the past few years Nikki has been creating audio designs to provide the same experience that she presents in her visual art: a scene that fills the senses, answers a question, takes you to another place, and invites you to bear witness. She views her work with creative audio and photo documentaries as a way to combine these passions in a format that’s accessible to her and others like her who are dealing with visual impairments, as well as to provide an empowering outlet for the storyteller in all of us. Nikki believes her work allows people to see and hear how much we all have in common and to recognize that we all want and need some of the same things: to be heard, to be held, and to be healed in community.

This past fall, Nikki’s contributed to an installation designed by fellow ROOTS member Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier and exhibited at Georgia College, Angels in Strait Jackets: Exalted on the Ward. The exhibition was in memory of the patients who have been buried at Georgia State Sanitarium, and was, according to Lynn, “about the inherent value of persons who are differently enabled.” The installation was filled with pillows as a way to “impart comfort, peace and solace” in light of this painful history. Nikki’s contribution to Angels in Strait Jackets is pictured here. In the words of Nikki: “when Lynn asked, I answered.”

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Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.