Shameka Gagnier presently resides with their partner and family in the unceded traditional territories of The Nisqually, Puyallup and Squaxin Island Peoples. They carry bloodlines from Central (Pure’pecha) and Northern (Cherokee Nation) Turtle Island, Africa (Northern and Western), and Europe (Ireland, England, Spain); many stories and names have been lost due to exploitation, foster care, and adoption. They are committed to working within those intersections to create and support spaces that center art, food, and nourishment for black and indigenous communities. Currently they are a first generation student working towards their undergraduate degree at The Evergreen State College, where they are focusing on Indigenous Studies, Multicultural Communications, and Art.
Gagnier is a multi media artist, working as a wood carver, metalsmith, printmaker, performance artist, music maker, and gardener. Currently they are working with a collective called Black Well Red Thread Collective. This collective creates multimedia art installations with community engagement elements. Within the last year Gagnier has had the opportunity to work as a project coordinator in community lead projects. Much of Gagnier’s work as an artist is done in collaboration, as is their teaching pedagogy. Gagnier works as a coordinator and an artist mentor. This learning exchange is one of the most generous and transformative. Working as a artist mentor is deeply enriching work, the young people bring new perspectives, curriousity, skill, adaptability, and courage. As an educator these engagements continue to shape and enrich Gagnier’s approach to teaching, creating, and connecting. It is through community arts engagements that future projects emerge such as “7 Blankets for The Future Project.