2020 Grad Show

Shelby Veenstra

AUArts Grad Show india 1

Print Media

It has always been my primordial instinct to regurgitate every visceral emotion onto scraps of paper. As a result, my art practice has revolved around divulging a perception of self. Currently my practice is guided by queries into heritage, authenticity, identity and memory, examined through an auto-ethnographic lens.
My work incorporates found print materials and elements sourced from family and personal archives, while concurrently drawing influence from music, lyrics and other found text. Language manifests itself in my practice as a connection to ethnic identity, and an additional support for autobiographic expression. Textiles are also a vital part of my practice, with embroidery and fabric referencing memories of childhood and their laborious process of application permitting time for contemplation.


ROOTS is a body of work where I contrast national blooms with a word I have tattooed on my body, in the language of the corresponding country. These works are an exploration into identity, family history and memory, and are based on the results of my 23andMe DNA analysis. They employ language as means to reconnect with one's ethnic heritage, and to navigate the internal conflict that this knowledge presents.

"Chemical//Castles in the Air"

"Chemical//Castles in the Air" is from the larger series STILL SEARCHING.

Audio Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4blhRQmm9x9pT0jOqRsVOR?si=lVGGfF7JQy2yggvlNs79BA

"Amsterdam//Hickory Creek"

"Amsterdam//Hickory Creek" is part of the body of work STILL SEARCHING.

Audio Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4blhRQmm9x9pT0jOqRsVOR?si=lVGGfF7JQy2yggvlNs79BA


STILL SEARCHING is a series of collages that auto-ethnographically explores my reflections on personal identity and family memory. The use of layering and collage alludes to the fractured and evolving nature of personal identity, while the elements included bear symbolic significance. Each piece is titled after a pair of songs that relate to works' content. Together, the works comment on ethnic heritage, family history, emigration, a search for belonging, and self-discovery.

Audio Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4blhRQmm9x9pT0jOqRsVOR?si=lVGGfF7JQy2yggvlNs79BA