Anne Shams (Anne Barber-Shams) studied for a year at the University of Padua in Italy, then graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts, Painting Emphasis.
After graduation she experienced a bout of depression that prompted her to begin a practice of meditation, journaling and painting as therapy. She soon found herself experiencing images that she later learned were archetypal. The combination of meditation, journaling and painting has remained a soul expression unconfined by any specific religion, and directed her art to spiritually and socially relevant issues of peace, justice and the environment.
Her work has been exhibited nationally and published in Faith and Form, the sacred sector journal of the American Institute of Architects. Oregon’s Regional Art and Culture Council awarded her a grant to create art for and curate the exhibit, The Wilderness Journey, that illuminated the common ground in the three expressions of the Abrahamic faiths.
The Canton, Ohio Museum of Art chose her work for the exhibit, Sacred Voices. The Jerusalem Fund Gallery of the Palestine Center in Washington, DC exhibited Al-Andalus; Pardes/Paradise: her paintings and morsels of poetry that celebrate the glorious progeny begat by the co-mingling of Jewish, Christian and Arabic cultures in Andalusia, Spain from 755 to 1492. OnCaravan chose her to contribute to the project, Amen a Prayer for the World, exhibiting at St. John the Divine in New York City, and The National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
Recently she has been creating Icons for the 21st century, works that record, illuminate, inspire and celebrate holy stories. The most recent Icons for the 21st Century work is a series of 12 classical oil and gold leaf portraits in triptych format: Portraits of Twelve Inspiring Women. The twelve women are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Pauli Murray, Alla René Bozarth, Greta Thunberg, Dorothy Day, Ilhan Omar, Deb Haaland, Margaret Sanger, Rachel Carson, Shirley Chisholm, Maya Angelou and Sarah Winnemucca.