Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer: Creation out of Chaos

On view in the Robertshaw Gallery.

Drawing on her own memories and experiences as an immigrant, Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer paints figures that fluctuate between real and imagined landscapes to explore identity and diversity.

For many years my work was the result of introspection and the passage of time. I created narratives of the under layers of existence, depicting memories of my own reality as an immigrant exploring diverse identities. As society shifted, so did my work, from individual to collective experience. 

I use Latin American historical elements, zoo-anthropomorphic figures and pop culture references to convey ideas of human behavior, the nature of political power and societal structures, particularly relating to the experiences of female-identifying individuals. The imagery in my work is rooted in actual places and experiences, but those places and experiences grow and evolve into fantastical landscapes and beings that populate a world where immigrant sensibilities and variations of the theme “home” can be explored.

Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer

Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer has been a creator, primarily a painter, and designer for over 20 years. A native of Palmira, Colombia, Sheila graduated with a degree in Architectural Design from the Fundación Academia de Dibujo Profesional and studied Fine Arts at the Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes in Cali, Colombia.

Sheila’s practice represents her interest in identity, diversity, and human rights. Her work has been shown at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Susquehanna Museum of Art, Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis University, and The State Museum of Pennsylvania. Sheila has been invited to show her work at the Pennsylvania State Capitol and the United States Department of Energy. Her design Democracy is Power was chosen by the Amplifier Foundation curatorial team, which includes Shepard Fairey, to travel around the country with #powertothepolls. Her work has been mentioned in publications including, Bloomberg CityLab and The Boston Globe.

Find out more about Cuellar-Shaffer and her work by clicking here.