‘Interrupted’ is a multimedia art installation about brain injury, loss, memory, and reconstruction created out of my personal experience over a two and half year period with back to back brain injuries that created a ripple effect of memory loss, loss of identity, and a complete rethinking of what my future is if I don’t trust my past. The exhibition aims to open the conversation of traumatic brain injuries regardless of cause through a creative immersion outside of the medical setting to spark creative exploration and communication. My own was caused by two significant incidents of blood clots in the brain, which led to a significant memory loss, and required a stepping back from my life and my identify as a mountain biker and women’s rights activist in Afghanistan. This exhibition delves into the search for memory, identify, and recovery through the philosophy and literature of Proust and Lewis Carroll, and the exploration of time and perception of reality with a juxtoposition of creative imagery and real world medical sources.
During the search for a year of missing memories after two separate brain injuries I was writing memories, trolling my own instagram account, and meditating. I was constantly writing down thoughts, memories, and ideas for projects, as well as my own daily reflections in an effort not to lose them again. I became fascinated by the different weight, color, texture, length, and thickness that I associated with memories as I recovered them and wrote them down… which led me to the desire to write them onto different ribbons. Wanting to stretch my own vulnerability and begin to give voice to the memories that I had lost and found, I started hanging them around Paris. Confronting and surprising passerbys with memories of beauty, tragedy, anger, and love.
This was created as a collaboration between myself, my daughter, Devon Galpin Clarke, and Mexican artist, Diana Garcia, to create a series of endangered animal drawings to be pasted up around cities as street art to bring the conservation conversation into urban environments and public spaces based on a series of field research trips Devon and I did as Endangered Activism. Devon based the story of the endangered species on the concept of what we lose if we allow extinction to continue and how it has a ripple effect beyond the loss of a single species. We launched the first series of #WhatWeLose in Paris, France together in June 2018 with a city-wide takeover of sixteen walls. Diana teaching Devon the process of pasting. We were invited by the Oxford City Council to paste the series inside the the historic Covered Market a few weeks later, and brought the exhibition home to Colorado with our inclusion at Denver’s CRUSH Walls where we added a black rhino based off our field research in Namibia as a nod to the RiNo art district that hosts CRUSH each year. We expanded the installation to include Devon’s footprint stencil art and my animal road signs to create a multi-media storyline around extinction to takeover the arts district.
Endangered Activism was created as a mother-daughter collaboration to mentor my daughter, Devon with her activist passions in wildlife conservation and endangered species. We co-created this project to dive into field research, storytelling, and learn best solutions in conservation and find creative solutions for storytelling in urban and youth communities that aren’t traditionally tied to conservation. Devon’s focus to give voice to the issue was a graphic novel and streetart projects. We co-wrote the graphic novel, The Rosette, and brought Mariana Prieto on to illustrate. We launched the streetart project, #WhatWeLose with Mexican artist, Diana Garcia as a collaboration and mentorship in Paris, Oxford, and Denver, Colorado. After a year and a half of worldschooling and field research projects, we are now developing a documentary in post-production that focuses on the field research and the use of street art as a way to bring the conservation conversation into urban areas.
Streets of Afghanistan is a cultural, bigger-than-life art exhibition that highlights the beauty and soul of the land and the people of Afghanistan while challenging existing perceptions of the war-torn country. A ground-breaking collaboration of Afghan and Western photographers through life sized photography that was launched in public spaces around Afghanistan in 2012. A book documenting the project of the same name, Streets of Afghanistan, was published by Hatherleigh Press in 2013.
Shannon’s memoir, Mountain to Mountain, is a first-person journey through the roles that her activism, adventure, motherhood, and sexual assault played in shaping who she is as a woman today. Through cycling through the remote mountains of the Panjshir Valley, to learning to ride a motorcycle in the back roads of Kabul, to meeting with women in the Kandahar prison, and working to create and projects that empower women in a country recognized for being one of the worst countries in the world for a woman, Shannon learns the true value of having a voice in the world.
“Shannon Galpin's lovely cycling saga is an inspiring and illuminating window into the lives of modern day Afghan women and their continuing struggle to ride their own path to freedom, recognition, and equality.” ―Khaled Hosseini, New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner and And The Mountains Echoed
“Mountain to Mountain reads like one of Shannon Galpin's bike rides, fast-paced and unpredictable. It traces her intimate journey as a survivor and her travels across a rugged terrain, in the process bringing alive a vital and poignant message:Equality for Afghan women means more than just voting rights or access to parliament--it means having the same basic freedoms as men.” ―Anand Gopal, author of No Good Men Among the Living
Shannon spent five years working with the first generation of women to ride bikes in Afghanistan. Shannon herself was the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan in 2009 while she was working in Afghanistan with her non profit, Mountain2Mountain, and in 2013 she began working and training with the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team, and several bike clubs and provincial teams that emerged. Her work with the Afghan National Women’s Team was internationally recognized with an exhibition in the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and a nomination of her nonprofit and the national cycling team for a Nobel Peace Prize as part of an overall bid by an Italian committee to nominate the Bike as a Vehicle for Peace. From 2013 to 2018 Shannon was producer on the Let Media documentary, Afghan Cycles about the first generation of Afghan women to ride bikes.
Shannon is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club. She was the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan and has explored gender barriers through sport and travel throughout the world. She lived the first decade of her adult living and traveling overseas and has spent the rest of her adult life working and traveling overseas while raising her daughter in Colorado. She has traveled solo extensively throughout Europe, the MIddle East, SE Asia and South America and enjoys the community and the solitude that is built when traveling solo.
Shannon is an internationally sought after public speaker. She has spoken in front of the Italian Parliament, the UN Human Rights Council, and has met the King of Holland before speaking at VeloCity about cycling as a tool for women’s rights and social justice. Shannon has given three TEDx talks, spoken at The Harvard Club, National Geographic Headquarters, The Explorer’s Club Headquarters, Chicago IDEAS Week, and she has keynoted numerous corporate conferences. Her book tour had her on Morning Joe, MSNBC, and numerous other local, national, and international media outlets. Shannon has been featured on Dateline NBC, Outside Magazine profiled her epic ride across the Panjshir Valley, and she is the subject of three short films about her work in Afghanistan; MoveShake, Waking Lions, and a Liv Ambassador short film. She is the author of two books and is currently working on a third.
Combat Apathy was launched as an art as activism umbrella in 2012.
The Rosette is a graphic novel co-written by Shannon Galpin and Devon Galpin Clarke and illustrated by Mariana Prieto. It tells the story of a teenager girl who is born with the power to shapeshift into animals and a mysterious rosette birthmark on the back of her neck. On her 4th birthday she gets a gift of a stuffed snow leopard, which she names Himalya, Himmy for short. Himmy turns out to be alive and becomes her mentor and sidekick and helps her control her powers. Eventually she understands the meaning behind her rosette birthmark and learns of a parallel animal world that is working to fight the sixth extinction, and they have been waiting for The Rosette’s arrival. Integrating the lessons learned from field research with Endangered Activism and a lifelong passion for endangered species and wildlife conservation, Devon has created a superhero story with heart and purpose. In the graphic novel, Himmy is invisible to everyone but The Rosette and other animals, but leaves silver footprints behind - this sparked Devon’s first streetart project in Paris in the fall of 2017 - silver snow leopard footprints walking through the streets of Paris with Himmy’s distinctive heart shaped pinky toe. Kickstarter for finishing funds fall 2018.