Shanna Merola is a visual artist, photojournalist, and legal worker. Her sculptural photo-collages are informed by the stories of environmental justice struggles past and present. Travelling to EPA designated Superfund sites, she has documented the slow violence of deregulation – from her own neighborhood on the Eastside of Detroit, to Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens, and Love Canal, NY. Merola lives in Detroit, MI where she facilitates Know-Your-Rights workshops for grassroots organizations through the National Lawyers Guild.

Merola has been awarded studio residencies and fellowships through MacDowell, the Studios at MASS MoCA, Banff Centre for Arts + Creativity, Kala Institute of Art, the Society for Photographic Education, the Kresge Arts Foundation, Bulk Space, the Puffin Foundation, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. Her collaborative projects include Detroit Resists: A Digital Occupation of the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2016), Oil + Water: Photography in the Age of Disaster Economies with Kate Levy (2017) and Swan Song with Halima Afi Cassells at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2022). Merola has shown her work in solo exhibitions both nationally and abroad at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in South Korea. She has held teaching appointments at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Wayne State University, the College for Creative Studies, and in the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley in California.


Using Format