"When my grandmother passed away, that created that sense of urgency, to start documenting my family history."
Damien Shen is a South Australian man of Ngarrindjeri (Aboriginal) and Chinese descent. As an artist he draws on both of these powerful cultural influences to create works of intense personal meaning. In using his artistic talent to share his story he aims to open the eyes of viewers to new ways of seeing Australian identity and Aboriginal art.
Damien Shen constantly pushes his practice across different mediums. From time consuming, labor intensive drawings and paintings to bleeding watercolors, printmaking and photography, he is constantly constructing and deconstructing the world around him. Through this imagery he better understands his identity and the identity of those that help to shape the world he lives and the content remains relevant to contemporary Australian issues around race, history and politics.
In February 2016, Damien Shen was the winner of the Blake Prize (emerging category), December 2015, the winner of the Prospect Portraiture prize, and a finalist in the prestigious Whyalla Art Prize and Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award along with being hand-picked for the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.
Damien Shen lives and works in Adelaide, South Australia.