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SHEENA ROSE

Hailing from the Caribbean, multidisciplinary artist Sheena Rose’s relaxed figures challenge centuries of demands for Black labor and instead, finds empowerment through leisure. Sheena’s buoyant art practice comprises powerful images that are unafraid to challenge stereotypes. Rooted in her Caribbean heritage, many of her figures represent a powerful self image, imbued with iconography that extend beyond the borders of her hometown of Bridgetown. Saturated with fashion, textiles, and interiors, her paintings on canvas tell stories, deeply personal and rebellious, emanating vivid color, pattern, and anecdote. Rose captures exuberant expressions of belonging across athletic platforms and social strata with work that not only explores recreation and heroic athleticism, but also emphasizes camaraderie and connectedness.

Recent and upcoming exhibitions include EXPO Chicago, Museum of the African Diaspora (SF), Saatchi Gallery (London) curated by June Sarpong, SFMoMA “Get in the Game” curated by Seph Rodney, The Lowe Museum (FL), and 1-54 (London), curated by caryl ivrisse crochemar.

Excellent Synchronization (2024) Acrylic on canvas 30 x 36 inches
In the public collection of the San Antonio Spurs - Clear Out (2023), Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
Balance (2022), Acrylic on canvas, 42 x 48 inches
To Be a Great Player (2023), Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 50 inches

Sheena Rose

Sheena Rose’ vivid scenes, meticulously rendered in paint, invite joyful, playful, envious, and optimistic ways of seeing Black bodies. Conceptually, she shows that her subjects can do more in art and life than signify struggle. Instead, the artist represents Black bodies in vignettes and non-linear narratives. Her subjects are in conversation or engaged in leisure. Their active recreation celebrates the joy of mental and physical prowess. Beauty, indoors and outside, gives pleasure and relaxation. Her paintings exist in the world and are distinguished and exceptional for the tender intimacy and emotional depths they impart. 

-Natasha Becker, Curator of African Art, deYoung Museum

“Rose’s work dramatically and precisely challenges everything without ever losing any of the layers of the process, and without giving up any agency that lays within intentionally claiming and challenging heritage.”

Process (2024), Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36 inches

"Sheena Rose lives within her own rich interior and vibrant exterior world which enables and empowers her to reflect on her past and imagine her future."
- Natasha Becker

Volume (2024) Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
On Loan to the Museum of African Diaspora - Salt (2023), Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

“By obscuring their faces with voluminous hairstyles, Rose anonymizes them into what she calls “avatars” – Kristen Wawruck

She studies and explores a wide range of topics and fields such as mathematics, minerals, flora and music. The power of timing in musical composition is something she applies when creating her own art. She hopes that her works “can change someone’s heartrate like music,” says the artist who plays steel pan, piano, and bass clarinet. When composing her own works, she adds that she “likes to agitate people sometimes” to “trap them” first and then get ready for a conversation. Informed by her studies of English literature, which is still imbedded in the Barbadian education system, Rose questions how cultural content defines art, and the implications of such definitions.

Earth Black Lipstick Kiss - In the collection of MoAd's executive director, Monetta White

About the Artist