Shansi Miller was born and raised on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The daughter of adventurous travelers who settled to the Virgin Islands in the 1960’s,
Shansi is a unique brocade of West Indian culture and classical Western heritage.
Her mother, a brilliant craftsman and classical musician, deeply influenced Shansi’s sense
of design and pattern. She remembers listening under the bell of her mother’s French horn
listening to music which to this day permeates her emotional life. Her father’s remarkable
photographs of people taken on his voyages around the world inspired Shansi’s love for
recreating the human form, indeed all of the natural world, and informed her eye for
composition and structure.
At the age of 16, Shansi began her formal studies with the artist and teacher Tom Saint
Vincent. Later she studied at the Corcoran School of art in Washington D.C. before
returning to the Islands and continuing her studies with Saint Vincent. Shansi has traveled
extensively in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, broadening her artistic scope as her skills
The rich cultural background of Shansi’s paintings cannot be uncoupled from the artistic
isolation of life in the Caribbean. Shansi’s work is imbued with an extraordinary depth and
complexity of feeling that, although deeply West Indian, elicits strong emotional connections
with viewers from all backgrounds and origins. Her gift is the ability to combine this
emotional impact with the highest level of technical proficiency.
Shansi is at once a picture-maker and a storyteller. The people, the colors, and the soft
air of the tropics have always been part of her artistic vision: two women recline against
each other as one prepares her friend’s hair for a party; three men play dominoes, the
action arrested at the point one slams down the winning tile; a group of friends sit at a table,
their faces and gestures reflect complex hidden undercurrents, rivalries, and attractions.
Shansi’s work embodies her sharp vision of her home and its people, culture, nature,
animals and daily life. She opens a door to this seldom seen world of the Virgin Islands.