My practice is a legible hybrid of research, activism, and alternative exhibition strategies. Working from Pittsburgh, a city set inside the flexible cultural boundaries of both Appalachia (a name we call The Land and People) and the Rustbelt (a name we call What We’ve Done to The Land and People), I am a storyteller and memory worker with a shapeshifting, flexible approach to creative tactics. I dig deep where I stand, balancing an academic’s research practice with the folk-keeper’s belief in the validity of the stories and practices of everyday people.
Shaun Slifer (b.1979) is a multi-disciplinary Appalachian artist, nonfiction author, and museum professional based in Pittsburgh, PA. His creative practice fundamentally investigates memory, directly challenging the oppression of currently-dominant historical narratives, both social and ecological.
Shaun regularly works in collaboration with artists and other specialists, and in collectively-structured groups. He has worked as the Creative Director at the award-winning West Virginia Mine Wars Museum since 2015. Shaun is a founding member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, and an original member of the now-disbanded Howling Mob Society. His book, So Much To Be Angry About: Appalachian Movement Press 1969-79, was released on West Virginia University Press in March, 2021.
Shaun has exhibited internationally in a variety of museums, galleries, and nonprofit community spaces, as well as non-authorized public settings. He has presented on his research and creative practice at numerous universities and conferences in the United States and Western Europe. His work has been exhibited across the US and the world, including at the Queens Museum (NYC), the Biennial of Graphic Arts (Ljubljana, Slovenia), and the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia (Italy). For his work with the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, he was presented with Honorary Membership in the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), Local 1440 in Matewan, WV.
Currently living in Southwestern Pennsylvania, with roots in Nebraska and Tennessee, Shaun received a BFA with a concentration in sculpture from Watkins College of Art in Nashville in 2003.