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'She Is Her, I Am She' art exhibit explores Black womanhood, beauty and fashion

The collection includes mixed media collages, digital portraits and poetry that explore Black womanhood, beauty, and fashion
Credit: St. Louis American
Artist Shevaré Perry’s show opened on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Plaza Frontenac Saks Fifth Avenue. She uses a combination of written word and mixed media to create her art.

ST. LOUIS — Parkway North grad’s art collection featured in bottom level of Saks Fifth Avenue art gallery

Upon exiting the lower level escalators at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in the Plaza Frontenac Mall, you’ll immediately become fascinated by the works in  Shevaré Perry’s “She Is Her, I Am She,” art exhibition. The collection includes mixed media collages, digital portraits and poetry that explore Black womanhood, beauty, and fashion.

The display is a cohesive compilation from pieces in her collections, “Adventures of Wynk,” “Moments of Freedom” and a new project titled “She Is Her, I Am She.”

“I was thinking about myself and how a lot of times because I have so much going on it's like there are different versions of Shevaré in different places,” Perry said.

Perry’s first body of work, “Adventures of Wynk,” a combination of 3D mixed media collages, and poetry explores the history of musical icons Lena Horne, Erykah Badu, Diana Ross and Josephine Baker. It centers on how they overcame adversity.

After researching the four women, Perry began creating poems which then inspired her to create the story of Wynk; a fictional character from the future that travels back to the past on a journey of self-discovery and connects with them through poetic dialogue.

“When I researched Josephine Baker’s background about being a dancer at the cotton club, I thought it would be interesting to tie the cotton club to freedom and emancipation,” Perry said. “In the poem she says this is nothing, but a modern plantation life we’ve seen dance and entertained using the state of our domain. This is nothing but a modern plantation.”

Her work from “Adventures of Wynk” was featured in The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and that inspired her to create art showcasing African-American hair - but not in chronological order.

“I created a story and I think for me storytelling is where I start a lot of times with inspiration in poetry and words,” Perry said. “I think about how I feel about certain words or what those words actually mean and if they have other meanings or how I can turn the words into different analogies.”

For Perry, an artist and educator, art allows her to feel free through her creativity, which is where “Moments of Freedom” comes from. She took everything she learned along the way with different concepts and techniques, which resulted in its development.

“The work that I create is a constant reminder that this moment exists but it's literally just a moment.” Perry said.

In her newest collection, “She Is Her, I Am She,” Perry places her hand in collage work, digital text portraits of women including Beverly Johnson, and a poem with the following message; “She is her, I am she’ full of joy and grief. She laughs, her cries, she wipes her eyes.” 

It also includes an homage to her younger self, her parents, and grandparents with the poem: “She is her, I am she.” Full of DDG and MAP, dashes of Luci and Annie. I am them, they are me.”

“I was thinking about myself and how a lot of times because I have so much going on it's like there are different versions of Shevaré in different places,” Perry said. I started thinking about how my joy has to be stronger than my grief and so my ‘she’ has to be stronger than her because she is where the joy is.”

With much of her creations, Perry always makes it her mission to have a message in relation to the construct of race including her 30+2 poem about systematic racism, police brutality, and coronavirus.

“I think art is a good starting point for a lot of people who may not know about different topics but want to learn about them and understand current events,” Perry said. “I feel like it's important to share my process and use my art to spark conversation and dialogue surrounding topics that are hard.”

Perry is overjoyed to have her current art exhibit on display at Saks Fifth Avenue and strongly encourages everyone to visit it.

“Come out to Saks to see the exhibition, it's amazing,” Perry said. “I’m really excited about how it turned out visually especially within that space.”

Tours are available from noon-6 p.m. daily at Saks Fifth Avenue, 1 Plaza Frontenac Drive. Guests can book a tour with Perry to learn about the specifics of her exhibition by clicking the book viewing button at www.gallery7347.com.  

Perry has an extensive background in fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion and apparel design from Philadelphia University and an MBA in International Business and Management from American Intercontinental University London. She is a graduate of Parkway North High School. She is a graduate of Parkway North High School.

Learn more about Perry, here:https://www.shevareperry.com/.