Activism through art

By Andrea Waitrovich

Shelley Bruce, a fourth-year fine arts and ethnic and women
studies student, has been creating her mark with artwork on campus
and across the world.

For two summers in a row, she has traveled to Ghana, Africa
where she has painted two murals.

On her first trip to Ghana, Aieyku, a local Ghanaian jeweler
creator and shop owner, saw Bruce’s work and asked her to paint on
his wall. Bruce created a plant design that started at the base of
the wall and encircled the frame of Aieyku’s door.

This summer, Political Science Professor Renford Reese helped
curate an opportunity at the W.E.B. DuBois Center in Accra, Ghana.
The center is the home and final resting place of the American born
crusader for social justice, William Edward DuBois. There, she
painted with acrylic a full wall dedicated to the historic

“It was an honor to do it,” said Bruce. “A lot of my work is

Born in Los Angeles, she started painting at Immaculate Heart
High School.

When she graduated and started to attend Cal Poly, art was not
her first choice.

“I was into fashion, but then I realized I was more into the
designing part,” said Bruce. “I was taking a lot of women studies
courses and I felt a lot of my work expressed through this area. It
just fit because I am involved in a lot of [on campus] cultural

Bruce is an active member of the African American Student Center
and last year, she was an actress in the Violence Prevention and
Women’s Resource’s production of the Vagina Monologues.

Every year, Bruce has painted and donated much of her art to the

Three years ago, she created three wooden, mural panels for
Black History Month. Today in the center, the panels are covering
the wall of the sitting room.

“[Bruce’s] work was beautifully done,” said La’Keisha
Gilford-Beard, AASC coordinator. “You can see her passion, time and
effort she put into it.”

Many students enjoy and admire her work.

“Shelley is the bomb,” said Ryan Scott, a fourth-year finance
student. “I think she’s an amazing artist.”

Bruce had the Bronco Student Center Game Room exhibit some of
her political portraits for one month last spring.

She has done many commissioned pieces from book cover
illustrations to portraits and murals to live paintings.

Bruce is currently working on an acrylic painting displaying the
personal battle and struggle one takes.

“[Art] will always be part of my life,” said Bruce.

Reach Andrea Waitrovich at:

Activism through art

Paul Rosales/Poly Post

Activism through art

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