Gail Shaw-Clemons, born in Washington, DC, received her Masters’ Degree in printmaking from the University of Maryland. She has exhibited extensively, with many works included in public and private collections in the USA, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, China and Ireland. Shaw-Clemons recently retired as an art instructor from the United Nations International School in New York. She is currently an adjunct professor at Bowie State University, teaching drawing and two-dimensional design.
As an artist/printmaker/book artists/activist, my work speaks to the past, present and future of the African American experience. My major inspiration for creating is based on my developing knowledge of my history and ancestry. The more I learn the more I am able to comprehend the strength and resilience of the African American spirit against all odds.
I am on a mission to tell the story of our survival from slavery, as that is the true American story. Unfortunately, our story has been almost obliterated in the history books. This knowledge gives me the courage and the freedom to be creative. My imagery consists of collaging mask transparencies with overlapping layers of colors, textures, patterns and stencils, in order to create a spiritual effect with depth and illusion.I am fascinated by West African Adinkra philosophy and symbols of the Akan people, while often incorporating those symbols into my work. The Adinkra symbols are not just decorative objects, or drawings, but actual messages conveying ancient traditional wisdom relevant to all aspects of life including the environment.