Riley Hall Photography Gallery—Shanna Merola


Location: 2nd Floor - Riley Hall (View on map )


The Photography Gallery at Riley Hall is proud to announce We All Live Downwind—an exhibition of photographs by Shanna Merola. The exhibition is open now and will run until September 20, 2019.

The images in We All Live Downwind are culled from daily headlines—inspired by both global and grassroots struggles against the forces of privatization in the face of disaster capitalism. In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein writes about the free market drive exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries saying, "the original disaster—the coup, the terrorist attack, the market meltdown, the war, the tsunami, the hurricane—puts the entire population into a state of collective shock." And that "shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect." The scenes in We All Live Downwind have been carved out of dystopian landscapes in the aftermath of these events.

Shanna Merola is a visual artist, photojournalist, and legal worker. In addition to her studio practice, she has been a human rights observer during political uprisings acorss the country—from the struggle for water rights in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, to the frontlines of Ferguson, MO and Standing Rock, ND. Her collages and constructed landscapes are informed by these events. Merola lives in Detroit, MI where she facilitates Know-Your-Rights workshops and coordinates legal support for grassroots organizations through the National Lawyers Guild. She is the 2019–2020 Interim Artist in Residence in the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Merola holds an MFA in Photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Photo and Film from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been published and exhibited both nationally and abroad. 

The exhibition We All Live Downwind was made possible with generous funding by the Puffin Foundation + the Society for Photographic Education.