Shanelle Harrison (b. 1997, Columbia, MD) is an African American narrative artist, printmaker, researcher, educator, and author. Working at the intersection of storytelling, audio installation, assemblage, print, and sculpture; her practice explores themes of memory, psychology, race, identity, spirituality, eternal life, and romance. Shanelle is currently commemorating personal events and rituals in her life through experimental, restorative narrative.
Shanelle Harrison is a recipient of the 2021 Independent Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. Recently, Shanelle exhibited work for her solo show “Transition” at Motor House Gallery in Baltimore, MD, The Cumberland Valley Artists’ juried exhibition at The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland, The Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit, Michigan, and The American Hungarian Foundation in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Shanelle received her B.A. from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD in 2019 and she is a current MFA candidate at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
I believe in exploring history through my work. Real history. It feels restorative to me.
As a storyteller and research-based artist, I focus on the functionality of beads as commemoration, ornamentation, and utility in modern day rituals. Commemoration specifically for bodies of displaced, missing, deceased, and of living individuals as well.
I explore the representation of “the body” without using the distressed human imagery I am used to. This idea manifests into the use of plants or “plant bodies” as the human body, creating ceremonial sculptures, prints, installations, and wreaths, which explore themes of memory, psychology, race, identity, spirituality, eternal life, and romance.
I incorporate the tools of printmaking in my process by painting with inks, carving, and creating matrixes from nontraditional materials. Growing up with a florist as a mother, I don’t hesitate to experiment with materials used to make floral presentations. I am exploring how far I can push these materials outside of their use. I am currently commemorating personal events and rituals in my life through experimental, restorative narrative.