Grishma Shah, feminist in utero and an amputee from the age of eighteen. Using her Doctorate in Community Psychology, Master’s degree in Public Health as well as her identities as an artist and cancer survivor, she brings inclusive art and stories into the world. Click here to read and click here to hear about her journey from cancer patient to artist, courtesy of Advocate Aurora Heath.
Even at an early age, Grishma understood that important yet difficult topics could be articulated beautifully through art and storytelling. As a teenager while watching Bollywood and Hollywood movies, she broke down story plots to analyze trends and document themes. Because higher education was of the utmost importance to her and her family, she took these skill sets and applied them to the world of psychology eventually becoming an Entertainment Psychologist and supporting DEIA initatives in Hollywood, academia and the film festival circut.
Grishma's true passion lies in the creation of art. As a self-taught visual artist, her long term goals are to enjoy a full-time career as a verstaile artist and to expand her business into new markets. Grishma's painting style goes beyond traditional elements. Through her use of texture and asymmetry, she gently probes her audiences to reflect upon their standards of beauty and worth. With re-occuring themes of gender, skin tone, religion and disability, her hope is to elevate consciousness. In recent years, Grishma's artwork has been exhibited at The Harold Washington Library, The Skokie Public Library, The Chicago Symphony Center, DuPage Symphony Orchestra, The Chicago Cultural Center and Navy Pier, to name a few.
In 2021, Grishma received a 3Arts/Bodies of Work Residency Fellowship Award where she facilitated spirited conversations with community members about legacy. In 2022, the 3Arts Disability Culture Leadership Initiative Series invited Grishma for an artist talk. In the talk, Grishma explains how beauty and power in feminism can be a form of activism that dismantles harmful and outdated narratives, while supporting collective action and healing.
A collage of mixed media paintings of women.
- Exhibit of "A South Asian Perspective"
- Multiple artwork from "A South Asian Perspective" decorate a gallery wall.
ADI SHAKTI from the "Cognitive Dissonance" Exhibit
Cognitive Dissonance is an exhibit which holds space for competing ideas that exist in the world we live in. The above painting is of a Hindu goddess, ADI SHAKTI. She is shown having three arms (left image). The same painting when slightly angled (right image) shows remnants of a fourth arm. This artwork asks us to explore our relationship with disability. Does the new identity of disability change our original opinion about the Goddess?
Paintings from the "Cognitive Dissonance" Exhibit
(Left) a robotic arm, a woman aging (Middle) and a yogi with a leg prosthesis (Right)
A Flyer of a Virtual Event called "Legacy & Lasting Impressions".
As a 3Arts/Bodies of Work fellow, Grishma invites the community to converse with her about Legacies & Lasting Impressions. Questions to explore: Do disabled artists consider their legacy when creating new work? How will society remember us? How do we want to be remembered?
"Desi & Disabled" Podcast Dissertation
Twelve storytellers explore how South Asian culture impacts their sense of worth and belonging.