Kenyan painting prodigy captures the beauty of her country
10-year-old Sheilah Sheldone shares some of her favourite paintings and the inspiration behind them.
When 10-year-old Kenyan artist Sheilah Sheldone paints, she paints subjects that are close to her heart. From wildlife to female role models, her artwork captures her favourite aspects of life in Kenya.
“I use paintings to tell stories, especially of women and children who, like my mother, suffer a great deal to give our lives meaning,” Sheilah shares.
Her paintings, which often feature bold colours and abstract figures, have captured the attention of art lovers around the world. BBC News, Citizen TV Kenya and FOX40 have all written about her prodigious talent. In 2018, her portrait of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta went viral on the internet and the government invited her to present the painting to the president at the State House in Nairobi.
Sheilah doesn’t know where her skills come from, but she works to make sure she passes along her expertise to the next generation. She teaches art to other students in her hometown of Mombasa through the Sheilah Sheldone Arts for Social Change CBO, a programme she founded with her mother.
In the images and captions below, Sheilah shares some of her favourite paintings and the inspiration behind them.
“A Woman's World”
Women are the epitome of multitasking. A woman’s world starts as early as 4 a.m., waking up with tons of thoughts and tasks that need to be done. She multitasks on everything: housework, childcare, income generating activities and more. She goes to sleep late with so much done yet so much left to do. This painting depicts how special and important a woman is and how the world cannot do without her.
I am an artist wearing many hats. I am also a singer. And that is what this painting is depicting. It shows that you can explore all your talents and gifts that God has given you instead of settling for less.
The elephant is one of the Big Five animals (elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo) that is found in our national parks and a real tourist attraction. Unfortunately, they are in danger from poachers who kill them for ivory. This painting is done to show the world the value of our wild animals, like the elephant.
“Queen Face” is a unique piece that plays with different shades of colours that first start with an abstract that later transforms into a beautiful painting of Queen Elizabeth II’s face!
“The World Heroes”
One day, I will be a world leader. What the world leaders in this painting do for humanity inspires me a lot!
The beauty of standing near a waterfall and watching wild animals gives me tranquility and takes me to a journey beyond imagination. I love nature and this painting is all about nature.
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About the author
Sheilah Sheldone is a 10-year-old artist, designer and model from Mombasa, Kenya.