**This is a recording of our We the Experts event on July 9th, 2022.**
July’s “We the Experts: Adoptee Speaker Series” will feature four adoptee artists who will share their experiences with being adoptees and how it influences the art they create.
A.D. Herzel was found in a market in Hari, Yeoju-eup, South Korea and adopted at the age of two by a White family. She has been a professional Artist for the past 20 years and has exhibited work nationally and in Korea. She is currently exhibiting her project, Seeds from the East: The Korean Adoptee Project at the Philip Jaisohn House in PA. This show will be exhibited at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. She currently volunteers at Adoptee Hub and resides in Southwest, VA. A.D. is excited to be on this panel because art making is how she survives, sharing her work and her project is the best way she can contribute to the Adoptee community.
Lisa Marie Simmons is a multi-disciplinary storyteller. She is a singer/songwriter (Ropeadope Records), essayist (Huffington Post, Family Stories Project, Chicken Soup for the Soul), and published poet currently based in Italy. Her poetic/musical album NoteSpeak (Amori e Tragedie in Musica) was released in March 2020 and has a new album release coming in November 2022. Lisa is the subject of a documentary about meeting her birth father created with adoptee Angela Tucker and her award-winning husband Bryan Tucker. For Lisa, being raised by her white adoptive mother in a predominantly white community informs her work still today, almost fifty years after her adoption. She uses that experience to speak to larger narratives, and she is thrilled at the chance to connect with her fellow adoptee artists and discuss how we can turn the bitter lemons of painful experience into effervescent lemonade.
Yami Löfvenberg is a movement and theatre director, multidisciplinary artist and educator working in the intersection of dance, theatre and cross-arts. She is a transracial adoptee and was adopted in 1983 from Colombia to Sweden and she now lives in London UK. Her most recent solo work was around coming out of the fog and her experience as an adult transracial adoptee. Yami is excited to be on this panel to talk more about how we tell traumatic stories in a radical, fierce, loving and comedic way and how art can be the voice of the unheard in powerful ways. Yami excited to connect with adopted artists around the world and talk about how we can make some noise and rock the boat!
Tori Grace Nichols (they/them/theirs) describes themself as a prismatic performance artist. They can be seen performing drag as G-Clef with the House of Coxx and causing good trouble around Durham, NC as a cultural organizer and stand up comedian. Recent writing credits include sketch comedy with Kahoots Comedy and two audio dramas, Stretchy Shorts and Crocodile Twins, for the podcast platform Artist Soapbox. They also host and produce a podcast called Go With Grace in which they discuss the impact of white Christian supremacy on our daily lives for the organization Soulforce. They are adopted from the Philippines and identify as queer, genderqueer, trans, and disabled. Tori Grace is excited to share stories that uplift and honor our complex and creative adoptee experiences.
Kira Omans (she/her/hers) is a transracial adoptee born in Zhongshan, China and adopted at 10 months to Washington D.C. She is an actor, dancer, and martial artist, most recently appearing in CSI: Vegas as Rachel Koa. A full-time voice actor, she has narrated 170+ audiobooks and performed voices for Netflix (Girl from Nowhere) and HBO (Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel). Kira is an adoptee rights advocate and has written and spoken about racism, identity, attachment, and adoption education. She is excited to discuss how being an adoptee shapes creative careers with the other panelists.