About Sima Elizabeth Shefrin

I’ve always loved doing artwork. When I was very young we lived in Rome, because my father was working for Food and Agriculture in the United Nations. We were very happy there and my parents took me everywhere, including to all the magnificent galleries, and churches which were also filled with art.

When I was in my early teens in Ottawa, my best friend Heather and I figured out that if we hung out at the mall talking for hours on end, our parents would fuss, but if we spent time at the National Gallery doing exactly the same thing, they’d think it was great. And we looked at a few pictures while we were there. We’re still best friends, so something worked.

When I was 19 and living in Rome with my parents, I was having lunch with my sister at the home of a family friend. My mother phoned because the results of my first year university exams had just arrived in the mail, and I was devastated to hear how poorly I had done. As I struggled to hold back the tears, our host pulled a huge book off the shelf called Janson’s History of Art, and said to me “Almost everything in this book you can find here in Rome. I want you to start with chapter one on ancient prehistoric art and work your way up to the modern world, locating pieces from every era along the way.” And that’s exactly how my sister and I spent the summer.

As I grew older and found myself part of a community of people dedicated to social justice and peace, I realized that making art was my strongest voice for social change. I starting using my creativity to advocate for a world that works for every person who lives in it.

Are these my formative influences as an artist? Who knows? I’m just delighted to have this opportunity to share what I do with many more people than would fit in my living room for tea.