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Sheila Nakitende

Sheila Nakitende is a multidisciplinary artist and a mother from Uganda. She participated in the Kampala Art Biennale and the Kampala Art Auction in 2016. She is a recipient of the Parent residency grant from Women’s Studio Workshop New York USA in 2017 and has internationally exhibited her work in East Africa, South Africa, Europe and USA.

In our interview, she shares about her artistic journey, why the theme of womanhood is central to her work and her ultimate dream project.

Sheila Nakitende; photograph was by Peter Fabian courtesy of Underground Contemporary Art space.

Written By Anjellah Owino

Give us a brief history of your artistic journey

I've always been interested in the arts, even as a child who had no idea what they were. Apart from making drawings due to lack of concentration during other lessons, I used to play traditional drums in the school choir and once in a while engaged in acting for school drama. Years later, I went to the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial Fine Art and Design in Makerere University, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Fine Art and Design in 2005. I participated in international artist workshops and in 2007 I got a full-time job as a gallery manager at Tulifanya Art Gallery. This was when I got exposed to the contemporary art scene where I engaged further in art exhibitions, collaborations, more workshops and projects.

When did you decide to start creating?

I had been creating all my life but I started creating “professionally” after graduating from art school. I would get commissions for graphics, web and interior design projects outside of the contemporary art scene. However one pivotal moment was when I was working at Tulifanya Art gallery where I used to meet and interact with so many visual artists. One of them was Wasswa Donald who invited me to his Artpunch Studio in 2010 and encouraged me to start painting. He said I would do great practicing art. I quit my job at the gallery and became a full time practicing artist. Read more

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