An exhibition is being held in South Shields to celebrate the 81 years of inspirational art and animation of Sheila Graber. I asked Sheila how the exhibition came about ?
I was invited by Geoff Woodward, Museum Curator at Tyne & Wear Museum to start planning the show in 2017 with an aim to celebrating 80 years of ‘Making’ – Drawing, Painting, Animating and Teaching, an exhibition to fill Shields Museum in May 2020. However COVID had other ideas.
Thanks to this, the show has gained in power as I think now everyone knows the importance of making things to ‘help pass the time’ and stop them going crackers.
It is great for me to see it is attracting all ages from my cousin Malcolm 90 year old who, being an ex-Chief Engineer, liked the view of the Industrial River Tyne I painted in 1970, to little Amelia aged 3, who loved spotting Cats knitted by my friend Jen in the ‘Quizicat Trail’ and gained a prize and hi-five from me and QC.
The show is unusual in that it covers not only my own work but that of over 30 ex-pupils – now in their 60’s, and in turn, work by up to five generations of pupils or families. I have been looking in most Fridays from 12 to 3pm and it has been brilliant to meet up with some of them and see how they are still enjoying making today.
Everyone has a life-story to tell – it’s just by lucky chance I happened to have illustrated mine as I lived it. So the paintings, drawings and videos of Shields and Shields people, is also bringing in a wide range of folks from all walks of life.
I hoped that this show might spark off memories for others about their life and work – I am very pleased to see it is doing just that. Why not come along and see what memories it sparks for you.
Sheila from Shields exhibition runs to October 30th 2021.
Check out Sheila’s work on the official website:
Interview by Gary Alikivi August 2021