Shakira Hunt Showcases Her Floral-Inspired Art at the Delaware Art Museum

Fine-art photographer Shakira Hunt's new exhibition explores gender, intergenerational bonds and rebirth through the glory and regenerative power of flowers.

Visitors to the Delaware Art Museum (DelArt) will be welcomed with a floor-to-ceiling bouquet of images by Shakira Hunt, the native daughter of the First State whose expressive floral-inspired work is blossoming in a new installation at Orientation Hall.

The installation is paired with the exhibit There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art, a traveling retrospection on 200 years of Black women artists in America, which opened March 16 and runs through May 26.

The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, 1996, lithograph by Faith Ringgold. Gift of Julie L. McGee, Class of 1982, Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ©2021 Faith Ringgold/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy of Galleries, New York.
The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, 1996, lithograph by Faith Ringgold. Gift of Julie L. McGee, Class of 1982, Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ©2021 Faith Ringgold/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy of Galleries, New York.

Born and raised in inner-city Wilmington, Hunt felt connected early on to underserved people and their unsung talent. Each Christmas, paints and other art supplies were at the top of her wish list. When times were hard, she found tranquility in the beauty of Bermuda, where her mother was raised.

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“Growing up with hardships and trauma, nature became a safe place for me,” Hunt says.

She moved to Newark in middle school and took technical drawing classes at Delcastle Technical High School in Wilmington because it offered the nearest thing to a design course.

“Born and raised in inner-city Wilmington, Hunt felt connected early on to underserved people and their unsung talent.”

Hunt studied at the Delaware College of Art and Design for two years before heading to Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art and Design. She began her career working at architecture and design firms in Wilmington before striking out on her own. A multidisciplinary artist and branding photographer, she is the founder of Shakira Hunt Creative Studio.

Margaret Winslow, DelArt’s chief curator, believes visitors will connect emotionally with Hunt’s work when they visit, thinking about their own experiences as they pass through the wide corridor where the installation is on display.

Hunt’s first solo exhibit, the photography series Give Me My Flowers, was shown at the Delaware Contemporary and honors the masculine experience of both gay and straight Black men through bold imagery. She also drew inspiration from the local community in creating a photography exhibit that focuses on artists and other creative individuals.

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Through May 26, Delaware Art Museum features There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art, a retrospection on Black American women artists.
Through May 26, Delaware Art Museum features There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art, a retrospection on Black American women artists. Photo by Kelly Levin.

Hunt’s segment Soft Petals focuses on women who share the desire to heal with their mothers and/or children. The artist was inspired to take a deep dive into a woman-driven project when she was documenting a wellness retreat in Costa Rica and formed a connection with a woman who worked with Planned Parenthood. The exhibit debuted in 2022 in collaboration with Planned Parenthood at the Essence Festival, “the mecca for Black women and joy.”

Soft Petals is rooted in the concept of the mother-wound, an emotional hurt Hunt’s therapist encouraged her to explore, and includes self-portraits of the artist and her mother.

Her work in Orientation Hall builds on Give Me My Flowers and Soft Petals, exploring gender, intergenerational bonds and rebirth through the glory and regenerative power of flowers. For the artist, it’s a natural progression.

“Nature always reminds us of the simplest things. Flowers endure all kinds of weather and yet they still bloom,” she says. “This installation is a reflection of my journey.”

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