Shani Richards

Shani Richards was raised in Akron, Ohio. She graduated with BFA in metalsmithing at the University of Akron in 2006. Ms. Richards lived in New York City for six years. Shani graduated with an MFA in Metal at the State University of New York, New Paltz and presented her Thesis show titled “Make it Plain” at The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. Afterwards Shani returned to her hometown Akron, Ohio. In 2018 she was awarded a Community Fellowship from The League of Creative Interventionists. With the year-long fellowship Shani developed a community youth project called Akron’s Growing Chefs. In 2020 Shani was awarded art residency with The Akron Soul Train. Shani was one of six artists selected to be a part of The Sculpture Center 2022 Emerging Artists Solo Exhibition Series in Cleveland, Ohio. Shani is currently a Visiting Craft Fellow at SUNY New Paltz, New York. The fellowship is sponsored by the Metals Program and The Windgate Foundation.


Afro American

Date of Creation: May 13, 2022

List of Materials: Nickel and steel

Dimensions: 13 in x 10 in x 10 in

Photographer's Name: Shani Richards iphone

Model's Name: Shani Richards

Other Contributors: I took photo in my former studio in Akron, Ohio with a selfie stick and iphone. I used photoshop to add the flag in the background. So technology had a hand in aiding me with this image. It was easier for me to use myself as a model when designing the piece.

Conceptual Statement: The term Afro American gained popularity around the late 1960s during the black power movement which was on the tail end of the decades long civil rights fight. I find it interesting that Black Americans are one of the only ethnic groups identified by a hair style but it’s fitting since black hair is so very political. I also want to honor those black people who wear African hair styles like the Afro, Dreads and Braids knowing it will put a target on their backs and they will be discriminated against. I handmade barb wire to protect my crown and make a statement. Afro Americans carry the nightmare and the hope of this country.

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