Shima was born in South London England, her parents are from Kenya, her grandparents migrated there from Gujrat, India. As part of the first generations of Indians that grew up in London, she was exposed to a variety of rich cultures, nationalities and religions. Shima struggled to find a place within her own religious culture, Hinduism, as it contradicted her experience of growing up within a melting pot.
Her family had specific expectations, they fought against her desire to go to art school. Despite this resistance, Shima graduated from The University of Arts London, with a distinction and is the first in her family to do so.
In her work, Shima likewise steers away from specific cultural representations, she seeks instead to include a precise palette of colors, patterns and images of strong women, implementing her concept of Universal Women. Whether creating figurative or abstract art, diversity and inclusion are key. At the root of her practice she asks, what does it mean to be a woman of color? How can one own that identity with strength and fortitude? Taking one more step outside of her prescribed identity, Shima has chosen to use the surname Star as a rejection of patriarchal names. In her life and her work, she models the importance of self-empowerment.
Shima works in a variety of mediums including oil, watercolor, inks, 2D collage relief, and printmaking. Her works have been exhibited London, New York and Washington State.
My work is a direct reaction to political and social injustices especially in regards to women and people of color. These often manifest as images of strong women, women who are inclusive across a wide range of cultures and time periods. These are women that I never saw represented growing up in London, women who are not present in European Art History.
I am drawn to a variety of two-dimensional mediums, primarily working with oil paints, watercolor, acrylic, and printmaking. Across my mediums, I specifically employ a pallete of bright colors in order to address the systematic whitewashing of people of color. Initially this was a reaction to an educator telling me we choose “colored artists”. So what exactly does a colored artist look like? My colors are a vibrant expression, an act of rebellion, a joyful celebration, and a cry of frustration. My women are bright, they are meant to attract attention because after so many years of fighting my own battles with discrimination, I can not shout it loud enough.
My hope is that this body of work will inspire the kind of inclusivity that embraces individual identity.