Lela Pierce, was raised in the St. Croix River Valley of Minnesota. In 2008 she graduated from Macalester College with a BA in Studio Art. For the past decade she has travelled to Rishikesh India for several months at at time to study yoga on a near annual basis. Lela is founding member of Ananya Dance Theatre, and teaches the YORCHHA style of Contemporary Indian Dance at St. Paul Academy of Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN. She has shown her visual art work at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Soap Factory, The 801, Form and Content, Franconia in the City at Casket Arts, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Gallery at Macalester College, Modern Times Cafe, and the VFW in Uptown, Minneapolis. Her work has also been featured in the Living Proof Print collective annual calendar since 2015 as well as "El Fabulista" - a 15 year anniversary zine project with El Grupo Sopa del Corazon.
As a multiracial artist, I explore identity through an aesthetic influenced by several traditions. From those of my kin, I look to African and Eastern European textiles and patterns. I have also seriously studied and integrated the aesthetic of Madhubani Painting, indigenous to Bihar, India. These stylistic traditions resonate deeper with me than other Eurocentric methods, which have historically excluded women of color from their cannon of “high art”. While investigating identity through artistic style, I also seek freedom from the more limiting aspects of it. In my work I try to imagine an existence beyond the corporeal.
My sculptural installations generally focus on the intelligence found in nature, and the countless teachings that it offers us when we really listen. Through a process that integrates found materials from nature, I examine the conflicts and parallels between humans as nature and humans as something separate (aggressors of nature). Forms are intentionally life size echoing the impermanence of life and the human body as carcasses.