Local artist uses her art as a creative tool for activism

GTU Featured Guest

Essie Shaw, Artist, and Photographer have put a new meaning to art as she creates art for activism.

Essie is originally from Pennsylvania but moved to Utah to attend the University of Utah for Film and Media Arts and has since received a grant from the Utah Arts Alliance to fund the art project that she is incredibly grateful for. She is now reaching her 10th year in Utah and lives in Sugarhouse with a loving husband and adorable dog. 

Essie uses her art as a creative tool for activism. She loves to use art as a form of communication when she cannot find the right words. To Essie, and many others, a picture holds a thousand words, and her paintings and pictures say all the things words could not.

Essie’s Black Faces Project has been a continuation of a mixed art series she began in 2020, shortly after the murders of Ahmuad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. In the wake of these tragedies, Essie felt compelled to create portraits of Black and African Americans to emphasize the themes of resilience, strength, and survivorship.

Essie’s art is about representation as she deems it incredibly important for both little girls and boys that look like her to see art that resembles them in public places. 

Essie’s exhibit will be up through the end of July at Tea Zaanti in Sugarhouse. Until the end of the year, she will photograph Black Utahn’s and interviewing them about their personal experiences. She will use their photos to create art in their likeness and incorporating their story with each mixed media 3D art piece.

If anyone is interested in participating they are welcomed to contact her on the form located on her website.

Find Essie online, and IG

Click the link to see photos of Essie’s art and photos of her.

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