Adrian L. Burrell


My grandmother had 16 children, 58 grandchildren, 112 great-grandchildren, 158 great-great-grandchildren. She’s 94, and has been in Oakland, California, since 1945. Mama’s Babies takes a look at my family’s migration from sharecropping farms in Louisiana, to Oakland, California.

We developed vast networks of extended family centered on matriarchal figures. I combine my photography, and my grandmother’s archival images, to work against the erasure of our narrative.

Adrian L. Burrell is a multidisciplinary storyteller who uses film, photography, and other media to shape culture, and evoke conversation on issues of race, class, gender, and intergenerational dynamics.

Adrian’s multimedia installation Mama’s Babies explores Black matriarchy in America, and won the 2019 SF Camerawork Juror’s Choice Award, and the SFAI John Collier Award.

Adrian grew up in Oakland, California. He has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Adrian earned a BFA in film from the San Francisco Art Institute, he is a United States Marine Corps veteran, and he is currently working on his MFA at Stanford’s Department of Art & Art history.