My name is Shani Shih and I am based in Washington D.C. My primary mediums are multimedia painting and illustration, and I draw influence from street art, graffiti, and Hip-Hop in my work. Art and Hip-Hop has been such a force of transformation in my own life, and the power it has to heal, transform, and uplift amid the violent systems we live in continues to drive me. I hope to support communities in need through art for as long as I can.
There were many industrial areas in New Jersey near where I grew up. The urban development, industrial fields, deindustrialized areas, shipping yards and generation plants and old warehouses -- they felt cold and bleak but fascinated me at the same time. These are places and things that I am so far away from - I am not the labor that built those facilities nor runs their operations, but their very function makes our social world, our economy, our everything as a society possible. These visual themes for me capture the energy of the manmade world and the great pain it carries, via inequality, violence, borders, and oppression based on class, race, and other constructed categories.
In my work, I juxtapose bodies and these industrial themes to communicate my lived experience, i.e. visceral emotional and bodily experience in this infinitely complicated and divided world. I attempt to render chaos, anxiety, confusion, and suffering, mixed in with eternal love and hope. Through this, I hope to connect with the darkness and lightness in others; to provoke introspection and understanding; to inspire pursuit of healing and discourage complacency. I hope those who view my work can feel comfort, and acknowledged in shared human experience.
Select Engagements & Workshops
2019. Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, Right to the City Artist Talk, Speaker - Washington, D.C.
2018 Torpedo Factory Art Center New Art , New Voices Roundtable, Resident Artist Speaker - Alexandria, V.A.
1882 Foundation Talk Story: Southern Fried Asian, AAPI Storytelling & Arts, Panelist and Speaker - Washington, D.C.
NAKASEC Youth Program, Guest speaker and workshop facilitator - Annandale, V.A..
2017 Asian American LEAD Youth Summit, Facilitator - Washington D.C.
2017 Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership Washington Leadership Program: Advocacy in the Arts, Panelist & Speaker - Washington D.C.