Savanah Pennell

Savanah Pennell with blue hair stands in the desert

MA Arts Politics Class of 2019

BA Art History, Arizona State University

Savanah Pennell is an artist and activist from Gilbert, Arizona. Savanah received her BA in Art History from Arizona State University in December of 2016. Her degree had an emphasis in contemporary and Asian art history, and she minored in studio art, where she focused on performance, video, and digital art. In the Summer of 2015 she attended the American University of Rome and completed a screen writing and Italian Cinema program. While at Arizona State University, Savanah worked as a preparator at the ASU Art Museum and served on the institution’s Creative Impact Board. From there she went on to intern and work for the Museum of Walking and Scottsdale Public Art. Savanah also began teaching art at a local Boys and Girl’s Club in 2017.

Savanah’s art is largely inspired by her Latina identity, and her upbringing being raised by strong matriarchs in her family. Her work questions what it means to align oneself with femininity, cultural identity, and technology. She frequently delves into the theme of memory- loosing it, erasing it, and trying to preserve it. Her work has been shown at the ASU Art Museum in the exhibition Energy Charge: Connecting to Ana Mendieta (2016), and the Nasty Women: Phoenix Unite at Grand ArtHaus in Phoenix (2017 and 2018). She was a member of the Snap-Up Art Collective in 2017. Her current projects are implementing code written in Processing and found photographs of her ancestors. In 2014 Savanah began volunteering with Amnesty International, where she became a Student Activist Coordinator. She organized student chapters at high schools and universities in Arizona and California, and she organized events that tied to the arts and various human rights campaigns.

What drew you to the MA Arts Politics program?

I really wanted to find a program the unified my dual passions of art making and activism, and the Arts Politics MA program was the only one that I could find that truly does that. To me, art, activism, and social justice are inseparable, and I wanted a program that embraced that in every possible way. Through this program I would like to further my art making practice and develop new ways of expanding the reach and impact of socially conscious art. I would like to continue my work with human rights based organizations, and curate socially engaged exhibitions.