“She is she, I am her” continues | The living
A lot has changed since St. Louis-based American artist Shevare’ Perry last interviewed her “She Is Her, I Am She I & II” collection in May.
The conglomeration of art, including poetry, digital portraits and mixed media collages exploring black fashion, beauty and femininity, expanded into “She Is Her, I Am She III”, which includes works of Afrofuturism (combining elements of African culture and heritage with technology, science and philosophy), HeLa cells and an NFT collection.
Perry created a pop-up suite last Friday at Sophie’s Artist Lounge, which includes a street art gallery.
She extended the series because there is still a lot to explore and unpack.
“The poem continues as we talk about ‘she and her,'” she said. “We’re talking about trying to find a balance and who dominates who. What does that look like? I wanted to explore more and connect that aspect of this work with [her earlier] ‘My Adventures of Wynk’ works, thinking about where the intersection is. I wanted to broaden my thought process and wondered how I could work on both at the same time instead of both individually.”
Serenity No. 1 and Joy No. 1, the new series of portraits, come from the analysis of the struggles evoked by the emotions.
“Joy comes from the line in my poem ‘she is her joy and her sorrow, she laughs, she cries,'” Perry said. “There is power in Serenity. The power to take a stand, to be still and to be balanced.”
Joy features a black woman in a black and white print with orange planets inside her hoop earrings and a dove resting on her shoulder.
“I wanted to put the planet and the galaxy in her earrings and think about being in the future and the present simultaneously,” Perry said. “How do we live in this space and what will become of this space? The emotions within the space come from color, contrast, being multidimensional and not imposing limits on physical space. All of that exists, but it’s about thinking outside of physical space in spiritual space. It’s about mindset and [the] abstract.”
She said the dove represents liberation, freedom, purity and life.
Serenity accentuates a black woman with voluminous black and white braided afro puffs centered in a purple and pink universe, with doves on her shoulder like Joy.
“Serenity’s goal was for her to look like an African goddess and queen with her afro puffs and gold bands,” Perry said.
HeLa #1 and HeLa #2 were a selection of Perry in collaboration with the St. Louis Fashion Fund for lab coat design.
“I created a logo similar to Fendi’s and thought about the double helix because there are HeLa cells in DNA,” Perry said. “It was screen printed on a lab coat and sold at auction.”
Her piece “I Am Henrietta, 2021” is a poem dedicated to Henrietta Lacks, telling the story of an African-American woman whose cancer cells became the basis of the medically crucial HeLa cell line.
“It talks about where she’s from, what happened to her, why and why her cells are important,” she said.
Her NFT (non-fungible token) line started after people encouraged her to place her work in this digital space.
“People were like, ‘Your job looks like it should be an NFT,'” Perry said. “It took me a long time to process, research and figure out how good work would be in this space.”
An NFT is a digital asset purchased by cryptocurrency. Each time this asset is sold for a higher bid, the original artist will still receive payouts.
Perry also released limited-edition “She Is Her” merchandise consisting of the “She Is Her” collection featuring abstract text portraits and her Moments of Freedom line.
All prints and merchandise are available for purchase at www.gallery7347.com.
Learn more about Perry here: https://www.shevareperry.com/.