Shanequa Gay Biography

Shanequa Gay is a visual artist born in Atlanta, GA. She is primarily known for her surrealist acrylic paintings focusing on the multiple universes within the spirit of the Black Woman. Her work evaluates tradition, place, storytelling, and subject matter to develop imaginative dialogues and alternative strategies for self-imaging.

Through her paintings, illustrations, videos, performance, and monumental sculpture figures, Gay fabricates environments of memorials and rituals. With this, she depicts mythical figures, new gods, and images of people affected by inequality. 

Gay graduated and earned her BA in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), AA in Graphic Design and Fashion Marketing from the Art Institute of Atlanta, and an MFA from Georgia State University. A few of Gay's notable works, Devout Griot and The Fair Game Project, encompass a thematic vision of hybrid beings as the central focus. Devout Griot explores the historical and contemporary social concerns of hybrid cultures through the gaze of the female ancestor and how these cultures have often been rendered invisible and their identities denied. This interpretation also holds true when viewing The Fair Game Project, where these hybrid subjects "represent black men being hunted" as noted in an interview by Gay in Black Art in America.

Gay’s multidisciplinary practice offers a different perspective about various topics but also elicits imagination. Her works often use vibrant colors, mixed media, and sharp lines to capture raw emotions—with her sensitive topics sometimes attracting mixed reactions. 

Shanequa Gay lives and works in her native city of Atlanta, Georgia where she is also an active member of the Atlanta art community. In her career, Gay has garnered many accolades, including being one of 10 artists selected for OFF THE WALL, a city-wide Civil Rights and Social Justice Mural initiative led by WonderRoot and the Atlanta 2018 Super Bowl Host Committee. Gay's other achievements include her selection to be the illustrator for the First Lady's Luncheon hostess gift for First Lady Michelle Obama in 2013, television and film features in Lionsgate's Addicted, the BET series Being Mary Jane and Zoe Ever After, and the 2016 OWN series Greenleaf.

Gay has exhibited her work at prestigious venues and events including the Chattanooga African American Museum, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Hammonds House Museum, Emory University, Mason Murer, the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. Her work is among public and private collections including actor Samuel L. Jackson and the permanent collection for SCAD Hong Kong. Gay also exhibits her works in Japan and South Africa.

In 2022, Shanequa Gay will participate in the European Cultural Centre's exhibition within the context of the 59th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.