Shala, better known by her pseudonym Shala the Unicorn is a contemporary visual artist that was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1997. It was evident that she had a deep passion for the arts when she was awarded her first art award at the tender age of 8, which is why it only seemed fitting that in 2013, she was accepted at The National School of Arts. At 16, Shala began exhibiting her work at recreational spaces and pop-up galleries. She graduated high school as the District Top Performing learner in Visual Art for 2015 awarded by the Gauteng Department of Education amongst many of her other achievements. After high school, she painted her way to Cape Town where she now studies fine Art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.
“We put out what we take in, making us artists of our time. That’s the only real way to describe our art on the invented timeline of isms. I describe our time as New Renaissance. It is not only the rebirth but the re-imagination of the classics. My art acts as an anti-archival source that includes and celebrates the authentic stories of minority groups in an art narrative that they were once poorly represented in or even completely excluded from. I find it interesting to approach art from a perspective where timelines, mediums, and artistic fields are non-linear and completely interchangeable. With this approach, I try to and build narratives from different time zones, temporal experiences and create a prosthetic memory through a pictorial language. I see myself as a multidisciplinary artist with many interests and all these interests greatly impact my work. I am influenced by pop culture throughout the ages, technology, memory, culture, philosophy, politics, fashion, history and most certainly music. Through the labour of my hand, I try and use these interrelationships to creatively transmit collective stories and make it available for mass consumption.”
- Shala [2018] -