$40,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize
The journey to self-discovery lasts a lifetime. That journey is the cornerstone of Ernest Shaw’s artistic and educational practice. Ernest was born in 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland during the Black Arts and Black Power movements. These movements have had and continue to have a lasting impact on his life and work.
As a Baltimore based artist, Ernest’s work reflects the lived experiences of Black/Africana people past, present, and future. Many of his subjects are his students or historical figures that share lived experiences that tie the present to the past and further serve to add context to the day-to-day lives of the community, which in turn highlights the humanity of his subjects.
Shaw illustrates lived experiences with two-dimensional, mixed media portraits. These illustrations explode with color and composition giving the viewer/receiver an opportunity to engage the subject from an authentic and intimate perspective. Many of his works incorporate symbols, motifs and artifacts drawn from traditional aesthetics of Africa and the Americas.
Ernest is a product of Baltimore City Schools, Morgan State University and Howard University. His education also includes two decades of studying traditional West African music and culture. He is currently a teacher of Baltimore City Schools, Maryland Institute College of Art and Towson State University. His studio is located in the Station North Arts District in Baltimore, Maryland.