About

Photo credit: Cara Mastrostefano

BIOGRAPHY

Photo credit: Cara Mastrostefano

Colombian-American artist 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, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, 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. In 2018, her design Democracy is Power was chosen by the Amplifier Foundation curatorial team, which includes Shepard Fairey and America Ferrera, to travel around the country with #powertothepolls. In 2020 Sheila was awarded funds from the Heinz Endowments Just Arts program as Lead Artist of the recently completed Billboard Art Project. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Westmoreland Diversity Coalition and the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and she has recently been appointed to Welcoming Westmoreland, a broad-based coalition taking on diversity and inclusion across Westmoreland County. Her work has been mentioned in publications including Forbes.com, Bloomberg CityLab and The Boston Globe. 

ARTIST STATEMENT

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.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2021 Creation out of Chaos, Curated by Barbara Jones, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA

2020 Candyland: The Land of Hope, Curated by Christine Kocevar, Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, PA

2019 Candyland: The Land of Hope, Curated by Jessica Alpern Brown and Tina Dillman, Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media, Pittsburgh, PA

2015 Recent Works, 709 Penn Gallery, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust,  Pittsburgh, PA

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2021

Featured Artist Exhibition, Curated by Dawn Henry, Associated of Artists of Pittsburgh

2020

Art of the State, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Curated by Amy Hammond, Harrisburg, PA

Three Artists, Three Women, University Art Gallery, Curated by Sylvia Rohr Samaniego, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

2019

How Will They Know We Were Here? 100 Years Beyond Women’s Suffrage, Women’s Studies Research Center, Kniznick Gallery | Brandeis University

Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing The Politics of Voter Suppression Since Women’s Suffrage, Curated by Sally Brown Deskins, West Virginia University Libraries

The 107th Annual Exhibition, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Juror Juana Williams, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA

2018

Artistas de Mayo, Eastside Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2017

22nd Annual, Western Pennsylvania Council for the Arts, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Ligonier, PA

Small Works, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Curated by Jill Larson, Bottle Works, Johnstown, PA

Electric Kool-Aid, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Curated by Corey Carrington, Brew House, Pittsburgh, PA

Contemplating Others, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Curated by Sean Beauford, Jask Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2016

105th Annual, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

New Members, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, The Mine Factory, Pittsburgh, PA

Juried Visual Art Show, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA

2015

Hispanic Heritage, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA

Hispanic Heritage, Pennsylvania State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

Aquí, Assemble, curated by Maritza Mosquera, Pittsburgh, PA

Creative Festival Finalist, Pittsburgh Tech Council/CMU/Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA

2014

Southmoreland Patrons of the Arts, Alverton, PA

2013

18th Annual Regional Juried Exhibition, Western PA Council for the Arts, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Ligonier, PA

Art in our Midst, Southern Alleghenies Museums of Art, Altoona, PA

Curator, Westmoreland Art Nationals, Youngwood, PA

Curator, Westmoreland Art Nationals, Latrobe, PA

2012

Westmoreland Juried Biennial – Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA

2011

17th Annual Juried Exhibition, Western PA Council for the Arts, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Ligonier, PA

Annual Gala, Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation, Latrobe, PA

2010

Design Art & Technology DATA Awards, Pittsburgh Technology Council, Pittsburgh, PA

2007

Women’s Works, 709 Penn Gallery, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA

Curatorial Biennial, Apexart Gallery, New York, NY

2005

Women in Art, Harlan Gallery, Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA

2003

Hispanic Heritage Festival, Office of the Mayor Manny Díaz, Miami, FL

2002

International Biennial II, ARA Gallery, Coral Gables, FL

El, ARA Gallery, Coral Gables, FL

Transgressing Place, Miami Dade College, Centre Gallery, Miami, FL

Women’s Month, Latin American Art Museum, Miami, FL

2001

105th Anniversary Celebration, Tower Theater, Miami, FL

Rituales, Power Art Gallery, Coral Gables, FL

2000

Rituales, Power Art Gallery, Coral Gables, FL

1999

From the Other Side, Valter Morais Art Gallery, Coral Gables, FL


PRESS

2020 How to Diversify Trump Country, Bloomberg CityLab

2020 Artists Taking Over Billboards Across America, Forbes.com

2020 How to mark women’s suffrage centennial? For these artists, it’s fighting for the future, The Boston Globe

2020 “Candyland” artworks touch on international politics Tribune Review

2018 Issue 11 Create! Magazine