For Indianapolis artist Shaunt’e Lewis, art is a way to celebrate her culture and ancestors, and recognize the power of a woman, especially a Black woman. In her piece “Madam Queen,” she uses bold lines and colors to portray a powerful and empowered Black woman wearing a head covering – a common subject across her art.
“It not only represents different religions, but also how Black women had to wear headwraps as a representation of enslavement, and how we turned that around and made it into a fashion statement,” she said of the common head scarf motif in her work. “With ‘Madam Queen’ I wanted to show how we can take something so negative and turn it into a positive.”
Shaunt’e, who only began pursuing her art full time in 2021, has already seen significant success in her community, painting a car live at the Indianapolis 500 and having art featured in The New York Times.
“It means quite a bit to me to know that this early on in my career, people believe in me enough to give me the opportunity to showcase my work in a major store like Meijer, and that Meijer supports artists and local communities,” Shaunt’e said. “It’s important for stores like Meijer to represent Black artists and all types of artists because we don’t always get to see ourselves in spaces like this.”
She’s one of three Black Midwestern artists whose artwork will be on limited-edition products available in all Meijer supercenters, as supplies last, through Feb. 26 in honor of Black History Month.
Our team selected the featured art from hundreds of submissions after putting out a call for culturally inspired art in 2021 as part of our ongoing efforts to support underrepresented communities and ensure every customer sees themselves reflected on Meijer shelves. The pieces were selected by our Meijer merchants, after a team member vote.
Shaunt’e grew up creating art but took a long break after high school when she married and began raising her four children. She picked up painting again in 2016 but wasn’t able to devote a lot of time to it until 2020, when the pandemic hit, and she had to figure out a way to keep her hair salon business afloat. The success of her artwork over the past few years empowered her to become a full-time artist and illustrator.
“For someone to choose my artwork and to believe in my artwork, shocked me,” she said. “But I was also proud of myself that I took the big leap and followed my dreams and passions of becoming an artist.”
We’re also glad Shaunt’e decided to take that leap. Learn more about our local artists collection.