Lakea Shepard is a mixed media designer, sculptor, and milliner. Shepard studied Visual Arts (UNC School of the Arts) and received her BFA in Crafts with a focus in Fibers (College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI). She also attended New York Studio Residency in DUMBO, NYC.
Lake Shepard's highly visual artwork is as gorgeous as it is psychologically complex. Using Black American experience as a starting point, Shepard uses references to slavery, gun violence, African mask making, and basketry to form the basis of her layered works. Her pieces entice and unsettle as undeniable beauty runs up against some of the most profound horrors of human history. This juxtaposition is part of the wonder that permeates her work. One might be forgivenn for getting absorbed in the finely crafted details of beading, basketry, and colors before realizing the form of the object in front of them is that of an 18th century mask used by enslavers to prevent suicide or escape of the enslaved. In Shepard’s reinterpretation, a torture device has been converted to an object of protection, adorned with precious objects and stones bearing sacred, healing properties.
Shepard has shown in galleries and museums nationwide, with her work recently exhibited in the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh (2021-2022) and at the Ace Hotel, Brooklyn (2023). Shepard most recently was honored with a nine month residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft which concluded June of 2023. She currently resides in Houston, Texas.