Shaun Leonardo




Dance Theater Lab

Mirror/Echo/Tilt is a project created in collaboration with people who are court-involved, formerly incarcerated, or otherwise affected by the criminal justice system. Through a curriculum based on visual storytelling, participants translate personal narratives into performance in order to replace a culturally embedded conception of criminality with new language so that the mind and body may think, feel, and move in a way not defined by their previous experience with incarceration. Our goal is to facilitate participants’ agency to tell their own stories and ultimately, reframe existing narratives defining the “criminal.”

This work is invested in reframing narratives around the criminal justice system with and for court-involved participants, but in order to effect change in this pressing arena, there is a need to reframe the dominant story and language for everyone, regardless of one’s proximity to the system. As such, this project includes workshops modeling the same curriculum with different publics.
Shaun Leonardo’s artwork negotiates societal expectations of gender and sex, along with its notions of achievement, collective identity, and the experience of failure.  In his work as an educator, Leonardo promotes the political potential of attention, self-reflection, and discomfort as a means to create awareness, disrupt meaning, and shift perspective. Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and has received awards from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; The New York Studio School; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Art Matters; New York Foundation for the Arts; McColl Center for Visual Art; Franklin Furnace; and The Jerome Foundation. Leonardo is currently teaching at the School of Art+Design during this academic year.