Sheena shines . . . Award-winning artist tells her story through works


MR (Barbados Today)speaks to artist Sheena Rose about her goals and her creative life. [Many thanks to Veerle Poupeye for bringing this item to our attention via Critical.Caribbean.Art.] 

There is something unique about award-winning artist, Sheena Rose, who has been a professional artist for 11 years. The 34-year-old producer of art shows called Town, Sweet Gossip, Invisibles, Good Morning Comics, Black Obeah and the performance arts called This Strange Land, she has done multiple interviews with international newspapers including The New York Times.

Some of her personal goals now include trying to make it through the COVID-19 crises as a survivor. “But my goal is to be loving myself more and not to be hard on myself. I would love to be a successful businesswoman from Barbados and to be happy,” she told Bajan Vibes.

The artist considers herself multidisciplinary as she works with paintings, drawings, performance arts, new media and public art. “I have been inspired by a lot of writers and books including Richard Mark Rollins, Nick Cave and many films. Anything with a good story I am inspired by. I am driven by a good story line.”

She had her fair share of challenges and she encourages other artists to suck up the difficulties and stick to the task. “It is not going to be easy and don’t look for the easy way out either. Just keep going and keep working hard and just challenge yourself. Art is never easy so don’t be fooled or tricked by that. Just be yourself, keep exploring and keep at it. You can be whatever you want to be,” she added. “Don’t let anyone stop you from going for your dreams because you have an important role to play as well.”

Her inspiration for art she said comes from everyday people in reflection. “I love people to feel uncomfortable when viewing my work or they pause and are scratching their head, to make them think. Once they could think or feel, I am happy with that. I am not about pleasing the eye or pleasing the viewer per se. I want to carry double meanings. I don’t want my art to be gorgeous necessarily.”

Though Sheena is a reasonably healthy person, she said she was given a diagnosis of Lupus and has to be extremely careful around people, especially with COVID-19. Lupus is an inflammatory disease which occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues. Lupus can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood, cell, brain, heart and lungs. Sheena said she turned to talking about Lupus through her art. “The doctor told me that I am one of the most vulnerable because of my diagnosis and that I should not be around people that long. So I am writing, reading, drawing and painting to cope with it. I am in the garden, which is very therapeutic, and it helps to save a lot of money.”

Sheena admits that art helps her to channel her anxiety, but one of her challenges is getting material. To keep herself in the race, she tells herself to just keep going. Each day she reminds herself that she is closer to what she wants in life and that each day she will make mistakes. “Each day I write to myself – do not give up – and I feel as though my work is getting stronger by reading and writing and pushing myself and forcing myself to go a little more,” she said.

If not art, the green thumb said she would be involved in music or gardening. “Being in the garden is helpful, therapeutic and handy. But if I was not an artist, I would be a musician as I have a Grade 6 in theory and Grade 3 in practical. I used to play piano, steel pan and bass clarinet.”

She hopes to branch off into fashion and public art like murals. She has done designs for bus shelters in Iowa, but COVID-19 has interrupted the process.

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