Shanequa Gay


It is human nature to explain things we cannot understand and to create imaginary macrocosms in order to help cope with the realities of this world. Inspired by African and Greek mythology and narratives, the human, animal, and spirit world collide to mourn, mediate, and at times to wage war. Through a combination of consensual and forced realities, folklore, dream, tradition and the afterlife, Gay explores the historical and contemporary social concerns of black culture to teach lessons about morality, society, identity, and human function.

Currently, her work explores the tensions found within systemic codes in which the black body — hunted, sexualized, feared, imprisoned — is also seen as symbol of grandeur. Welding deeply political statements and integrating imagery from the black body into toile schema, found objects, and media, Gay addresses the use of the black body and the control of that body for decorative purposes.