A native of New Orleans, Shantrelle P. Lewis is a 2014 United Nations Programme for People of African Descent Fellow and 2012-13 Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellow. She is a U.S. based curator and researcher who travels internationally researching Diasporic aesthetics, spirituality and the survival and nuances of Transnational African Diasporan communities.
Her traveling curatorial initiative The Dandy Lion Project, examines Global Black Dandyism through photography and film. Other exhibitions and projects, including Sex Crimes Against Black Girls, Dirty Sensibilities: A 21st Century Exploration of the New American Black South, Life After Death: A Multi-Media Analysis of the Persona That Is/Was Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Standing With Papa Legba: Vodou at the Crossroads, have been on view in institutions throughout the U.S. and Europe. She served as co-curator for the 2016 Brighton Photo Biennial (UK) and independently curated exhibitions for the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago); Lowe Art Museum (Miami); Museum of Contemporary Diasporan Arts (Brooklyn); Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco); and Silver Eye Center for Photography and Film (Pittsburgh).
Her career in arts administration began at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, and she later served as Director and Curator for the McKenna Museum (New Orleans) and the Director of Exhibitions and Public Programming at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (New York). She has worked with over a hundred contemporary artists globally including Amy Sherald, Fahamu Pecou, Radcliffe Roye, Xenobia Bailey, Russell K. Frederick, Allison Janae Hamilton, Firelei Baez, Adrian Viajero Roman, Hebru Brantley, Charl Landvreugd, Elizabeth Colomba, Terence Nance, Numa Perrier, Alexis Peskine, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Marilyn Nance and Adama Delphine Fawundu. Additionally, Shantrelle was awarded residencies at Open Ateliers Zuidoost (Netherlands) and Ateliers ’89 (Aruba). She was the guest editor for HYCIDE: The Art Issue and has written for Slate, NKA: Journal for Contemporary African Art, Art Papers, Prospect.3, AFROPUNK and How We Get To Next. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, BBC, New York Magazine, The Art Newspaper, Art Net and Huffingtonpost.
Since 2011, Shantrelle has been immersed in researching ties between the Dutch Caribbean and the African Diaspora at-large. Currently, she is directing and producing, The Black Dutchman, a documentary about the Dutch blackface tradition Zwarte Piet and Black identity in the Netherlands for which she received a 2015 Kindle Project Award. An excerpt of the film was included in ReSignifications exhibition curated by Awam Amkpa in Florence, Italy in collaboration with Black Portraiture[s].
Shantrelle was recently named co-curator of the 2017 international Read My World Festival (Amsterdam). Forthcoming is her first title, Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style, to be published by Aperture this Spring.
[Louisiana Contemporary 2017 is Presented by the Helis Foundation )