From a Little Mix star's mum to street games - Sheila Graber's amazing exhibition covers it all
Award-winning artist and animator Sheila Graber is celebrating 80 years of her life in spectacular style.
If you’re looking for a fun way to keep the whole family entertained, get along to the South Shields Museum and Art Gallery in Ocean Road.
Sheila’s work is on show in an interactive exhibition which takes a cram-packed look at her achievements.
The project – titled ‘Sheila from Shields, her cat and the rainbow’ – contains animated scenes, hundreds of pictures, and a re-creation of a street where children played traditional street games.
There is even a cartoon cat who features throughout the whole project.
To accompany it all, there is an online map where people can view the whole exhibition on the Internet and each section has a clickable link to find out more.
Sheila’s exhibition includes the work of many of the students she taught when she was a teacher before she became a full-time animator, including the mum of Little Mix’s Jade Thirwall, Norma.
There’s an online workshop, shop, art section, museum and much more.
Sheila was born in South Shields in 1940. She gave up her post as Head of Creative Studies at a comprehensive school to pursue animation full time, 10 years after she had begun animating “just for fun” in 1970.
Sheila has won many awards. She also created the animation for Paddington Bear and Mr and Mrs Brown for the television series Paddington.
Her exhibition ‘Sheila from Shields, her cat and the rainbow’ is the culmination of 4 years of preparation and was originally due to go on show in May 2020. The pandemic gave her the chance to add to what was already an enormous undertaking.
"It is not like a normal exhibition,” she told the Shields Gazette. “It is a more of a history of Shields and it covers, in a sense, my 81 years and the people I have known.”
There’s a section dedicated to a rainbow where each coloured section is devoted to a decade in Sheila’s own life with accompanying works.
It includes her own watercolour of Colley’s Farm which she painted as a youngster, right through to animations which she became famous for in later life.
Art, said Sheila, had become even more important during the pandemic, and her exhibition includes sections where children can get involved.
There are also key messages to encourage people to get involved and try their hand at creating artwork.
The choice of the museum as the venue for the display is so important for Sheila. She explained: “I remember when I was younger, running up the stairs to look at the paintings of South Shields Art Club.”
Now she has her own display which includes ‘the art story, animation, everything,” she said.
The exhibition is free and runs until Saturday, October 30.
To find out more about ‘Sheila from Shields, her cat and the rainbow’ – and about other events and opening times at the museum – visit the South Shields Museum and Art Gallery website at https://southshieldsmuseum.org.uk/