Sheila James

Sheila James is a multi-disciplinary artist who has created and performed in media arts, music, performance art and theatre. She was born in the UK to parents who immigrated from India in 1960. After moving from the UK to the USA, her parents settled in Nova Scotia where Sheila grew up, attended St. Francis Xavier University and received a Diploma of Jazz Studies. She moved to Toronto soon after and attended York University receiving a Bachelor of Arts (Honours in Music) and then 15 years later, obtained a Master of Fine Arts (Creative Writing and Theatre) from University of British Columbia. Inspired by social justice, her work often involved themes which reflect an intersection race, sexuality and gender.

She trained with the late renowned “popular theatre” director Augusto Boal and has facilitated numerous “theatre of the oppressed” workshops founding two community arts theatre groups: The Rice Girls and Stree Theatre.

Her several stage plays include
All Whispers / No Words and A Canadian Monsoon, which were produced by Company of Sirens, the latter in association with Theatre Passe Muraille. As well as composing and performing on a number of recordings she released a compilation of original children’s songs entitled Radio K.I.D.S.

She has created and/or collaborated on four videos: She’s a Diva, Unmapping Desire, Lakme Takes Flight and Orphan Dyke and authored one screenplay, Erased, which have all been screened internationally to acclaim. Her work has been screened at festivals around the world including Imaginaria (Italy), Cinefable( France), Seoul Queer Film and Video Festival (Korea),London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (UK) and Women in the Director's Chair Tour (USA). At the Inside Out Festival in Toronto, Sheila co-won the Akua Award for best lesbian short for Unmapping Desire which was translated into French and German and broadcast by ZDF in Europe. These works have also been purchased by a number of universities and organizations world-wide.As a writer, James’ poetry and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and journals. Ronsdale Press published her first collection of short stories in 2009, titled In the Wake of Loss, for which she received Honorable Mention in the Foreword Book Awards 2010 and is currently short-listed for the Ottawa Book Awards.

Artist Code: 680


Orphan Dyke

2002, 15:50 minutes, colour, English

Lakme Takes Flight

2000, 11:49 minutes, colour, English/French

Unmapping Desire

1999, 06:51 minutes, colour, English

She's A Diva

1998, 03:55 minutes, colour, English

Critical Writing

Asian Invasion vs. The Pristine Nation: Migrants entering the...
by Larissa Lai. Fuse, Sept. Fall 2000, v. 23, no. 2.
Racy Sexy
by Henry Tsang. Parallelogramme, 1994, v. 20, no. 1.