The materials that Sheila uses informs her artistic relationship with nature. Lubago sustainably harvested bark cloth, carries spiritual and historical meaning. In the Central Region of Uganda, the Buganda people have used backcloth since time immemorial. Sheila further transforms backcloth through a laborious process that creates an intricate paper. In this work, the artist evokes connections between the forces of nature, specific place and inner being. The works presented in the exhibition ‘She Who Spreads the Winds’ further reinforce a creative attachment to the environment. Exploring her relationship with the force of the wind, Sheila presents a very personal series of works:
I explore our interconnection with nature. Just like the winds, we are also a force of nature.
However winds are a force that can only be seen through their impact. The metaphoric interpretation of who we are as human beings. The internal or spiritual, that which we cannot see and the external or physical, which is seen.
What are we able to do, to withstand, overcome, develop, amidst these times.
The artwork is also a personal reflection and interrogation as a woman, a mother and an artist.
An Influence of mobility.
The winds could be anything. A situation, a song, a disease, a trend, a body cell, an emotion.
We are the winds. That fan the flames
We are clouds that move the wind and bring rain.
Moving parts of our bodies (arms, legs, fins, wings)
we escape, Survive and Soar on
We make the Trees dance
And yet we are the trees
Rooted and grounded
We are the song of the mountains
That no one can see but hear
And yet we are the mountains that stand
We are the Queens that carry the load and spread the winds.
When the wind blows in the desert or the mountains, it makes a sound , it can either be joyful or a sound of sorrow.
The harsh winds cause movement of dust and make a distinct sound.
However the mountains do not move. All we can hear is the sound of the wind together with the mountain, a song.
She moves the wind and influences mobility.
She brings rain that allows for planting seeds.
She can compliment the environment that permits growth of the seeds but she can also destroy all there is through causing floods and deserts.
In Buganda The Queen is known as Nnaabagereka. Her position comes with many expectations and criticism.
She carries the load of judgement, being misunderstood, unspoken challenges but still maintains her position of influence.
The Nnaabagereka could be any woman in our community that shuts her ears and closes her eyes to pitfalls.
She heals, restores and moves on.
This artwork speaks about our position and power to cause transformation, to influence innovation and to spread this trend like a flame. It is a set of collective hands starting a fire.
This artwork speaks about using what you have to overcome your challenges.
The wings are what the dove or eagle has got to fly away high to a safe place.
Kawonawo (The Survivors)
Amidst a tide in the water, many traps have been set to capture them. (The fish)
This is their home a place where they are meant to thrive.
They’re vulnerable in a no-escape situation.
They swim and dance with the tide.
They escape and survive captivity.
This artwork speaks about mental slavery.
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