A Solo Mom’s Creativity Inspires Her Children

A Solo Mom’s Creativity Inspires Her Children

Shanna Lim, a dancer, painter, and body-paint artist talks about her work

Shanna Lim, aka Shae and Slimboogie, is an artist, dancer, performance artist, and screenprinter who enjoys working with paint, body paint, wearable art, and, as she puts it, “whatever else I lay my hands on.” A Solo Mom, she lives in Washington, DC, with her two sons. ESME’s Tanisha Christie asked Lim about being an artist and Solo Mom.

Q: What is it like to create with your children?

A: It’s interesting being parental while being a dance partner and doing lifts with my children. Being a comrade in creating is always a challenge. I was rehearsing a poem for an event at home, and my son began to do a beat while he was doing his homework. Stuff like that happens, and we get to just laugh. We laugh and play. It’s fun having them to collaborate with. But when I’m working on creating something new, I need them to go play because I need a sense of organization and structure. I do have to be open when they run in while I’m rehearsing in the studio. The choreographers have to be open, too. It’s a fine line, having the patience. My sons performed with me in an all-night performance for Art All Night, a Washington, DC, festival. They didn’t want to do it at first but then they just jumped right in and fell into place. They interacted with the audiences and did their thing. They are comfortable being around artists because they’re artists as well. They are beautiful and amazing.

Q: What is challenging about being a working artist?

A: It’s a rocky roller coaster because the art doesn’t always pay the bills. [That is the pressure that goes with] being an artist. I did go back to college after I had my children. It was my dream to finish my dance degree, and I graduated from the University of Maryland last December. I have some learning challenges, so that was an extra cherry on top. However, I wasn’t able to focus on my kids enough. And I regret it at times because I couldn’t always be there when they were sick or for homework nights. My older son had to help my younger son a lot, and I was grouchy and would yell at them. I’ve apologized. We’ve talked about it. We are growing together. We are aware of our imperfections.

To learn more about Lim, visit her website, An Artist Called Shanna.

Photo credit: Shanna Lim

Tanisha Christie is an interdisciplinary performing artist and filmmaker. After years of working at the nexus of arts, media, social justice, and healing, she is currently finishing her master of social work (clinical specialization) at Hunter College in New York City. A child of a Solo Mom, she loves to ride her bike to the beach.

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