"Resiliant, True, Curious"
Shanina Dionna is a visual and performing artist, mental health advocate and non-profit youth arts educator based in Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Since 2011, her Embryo art exhibition series has helped raise awareness for mental health; chronicling the life of one millennial’s growth journey. The series is supported in-part by local businesses and the wellness community.
Her art for social change practice is rooted in the exposure of her own personal battle and history with mental illnesses, diagnoses, hospitalization and therapy treatments. Life-sized acrylic portraits, improv performances, dance/movement, botanical therapy and "safe space” installations all help convey her intent for communal wellness and healing.
“ Art helped save my life. I simply desire to pay that forward.”
Shanina, how would you describe your artwork in 3 words?
Resilient, True, Curious
How were you trained? Tell me about your journey to where you are now Shanina?
I am a self-taught painter. Dance/drill teams, writing and sports were a part of my upbringing through high school before earning a degree in graphic design. I was always led by curiosity (still to this day) and could count on finding a sense of freedom through some form of creativity.
What is your studio like Shanina? Where do you like to create best? What are your artist necessities? What could you not live without?
I have been working from my bedroom studio for nearly 10yrs now. It's my safe and brave space. My necessities generally consist of the 3 primary colors & white paint, paper towels, jars of water, a variety of brushes, canvas rolls, house plants, drinking water and comfy paint clothes. The first thing(s) that come to mind that I cannot live without is my peace, gratitude and a good brand of eco-friendly hand + body moisturizer.
Do you listen to anything while you work?
I adore the quiet and nature sounds. Some days though, my mood can take me through a musical transit from no-genre conforming tunes to classical to hip hop to neo soul to R&B to reggae to EDM...this list goes on. Depends on what I'm feeling.