Artist Talk: Shantrelle Lewis

By C. Zawadi Morris

New Orleans Native and Bed-Stuy resident Shantrelle P. Lewis is the director of public programming and exhibitions at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). She also is curator for a new exhibit, “Sex Crimes Against Black Girls,” which opened Saturday February 5th at the Skylight Gallery in Restoration Plaza.

Lewis has traveled around the world in her pursuit to gain greater understanding of the African aesthetic first-hand, including to Cuba, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Spain and London.

Her curatorial credits include exhibitions on a variety of topics, including Contemporary Haitian Art, a tribute to Betty Davis, the Haitian Revolution, The Feminine in African Sacred Traditions and New Orleans sacred traditions. Lewis is producing her first documentary The Wild Magnolia, as part of an oral history project of the Magnolia Projects in New Orleans, of which she is the Project Director.

Lewis sat down with Patch to provide insight on her motivation behind a very serious subject matter pervasive in the black community, and within the black Diaspora – childhood sexual abuse – also the subject of her latest project at Skylight Gallery.

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