At the Crossroads of the Dark Goddess Shanta Lee Gander

“I am a big believer that projects need to bloom in their own time. This was true for my photo exhibition, Dark Goddess, which has been living in my bones for about 6 years. However, the true age of the project is much older. At the age of 19 years old, I came in contact with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estéss book, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, along with other histories about the role of the sacred feminine in the world.

Dark Goddess is a mix of ethnography, cultural anthropology, an exploration of the sacred feminine, and a co-creation with each of the individuals featured.

The women featured either created their own deities, or pulled from the pantheon of goddesses from different cultures.

I am still learning from this exhibition as it is instructing me on how it wants to be seen and grow in the world.

Shanta Lee Gander

Shanta Lee Gander is a multidisciplinary artist and writer who explores a range of genres.  Her work has been featured in PRISM, ITERANT Literary Magazine, Palette Poetry, BLAVITY, DAME Magazine, The Crisis Magazine, Rebelle Society, on the Ms. Magazine Blog as one of their writers, and many other places.  Shanta Lee’s photojournalism and art reviews have been featured on Vermont Public Radio ( and her investigative reporting has been in The Commons weekly newspaper covering Windham County,VT. Shanta Lee is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts and 2020 and named as Diode Editions full-length book contest winner for her debut poetry compilation, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues which has received an honorable mention for the Sheila Margaret Motton prize and has been reviewed by the  Poetry Foundation (written by Ryo Yamaguchi), Seven Days (written by Skye Jackson), and Diana Whitney’s review in the Kenyon Review.  Her second book of poetry,  Black Metamorphoses, is forthcoming with Etruscan Press. Shanta Lee’s contributing work to investigative journalism pieces for The Commons received a few New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) awards. Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince (c.1730-1821), considered the first known African-American poet in English literature, as a member of the Vermont Humanities Council Speakers Bureau and she is the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to their board of directors.  Shanta Lee has been working to establish Vermont’s first historic marker recognizing the contribution of the Princes in 2021.   Her latest photography exhibition, “Dark Goddess,” explores other aspects of the goddess and was awarded a solo show at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. Shanta Lee has an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MBA from the University of Hartford, and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College.  To learn more about her work, visit


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