Shanta Lee is an artist who works in different mediums as a photographer, writer across genres and is a public intellectual whose work has been widely featured. Her major exhibition, Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine, is currently on view at the Fleming Museum of Art and is a started off as an initial idea and inquiry: Who or what is the Goddess when she is allowed to misbehave? Who is the Goddess when she is allowed to expand beyond bearer of life, nurturer, and all of the other boxes that we confine women to within our society? Dark Goddess is a mix of ethnography, cultural anthropology, an exploration of the sacred feminine, and a co-creation with each of the individuals featured. Shanta Lee writes that beginning to share the work through exhibition has helped her to sharpen her sense of the purpose of exhibitions in general. “Bringing Dark Goddess to others has been an ongoing inquiry and invitation outside of my comfort zone,” she shared.
She is the author of GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak in Woke Tongues, winner of the Vermont Book Award for Poetry and the 2020 Diode Press full-length book prize with an honorable mention from the Sheila Margaret Motton prize. Reviews have been featured in the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Books, Seven Days, the Kenyon Review, and the The Adroit Journal. Her forthcoming collection, Black Metamorphoses (Etruscan Press, 2023), is what Shanta Lee describes as a 2000+ year old phone line opened to Ovid as well as an interrogation of the Greek mythos while creating her own new language in this work. Black Metamorphoses is an illustrated poetry collection that has been longlisted for the 2021 Idaho poetry prize, shortlisted for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and named a finalist in the 2021 Hudson prize. Her contributing work on several investigative journalism pieces for The Commons received a number of New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) awards. She is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts and 2020. Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince (c. 1730-1821) — considered the first known African-American poet in English literature — as a member of the Vermont and New Hampshire Humanities Council Speakers Bureaus. She is the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to the Vermont Humanities Council’s board of directors.
Collaborating is a part of Shanta Lee’s creative practice and projects have included co-curating the I AM… exhibition with the Vermont Arts Council along with her work on the statewide CreateVT, a strategic plan geared towards the creative sector. Among her current work includes acting as one of the advisors for Jay Craven’s film, Lost Nation, which will illustrate how the Prince family and Ethan Allen took different paths toward the American dream. In addition to teaching media studies at The Putney School, she is a Vermont Public Radio producer and reporter, and a regular contributor to Art New England, and Ms. Magazine. She has an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has an MBA from the University of Hartford and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College. To learn more about her visual art and written work, visit: Shantaleegander.com