About the Artists Database

The NIVAL Artists Database has been compiled in order to improve public access to the Library's extensive information files on 20th century and contemporary Irish artists.  These files contain exhibition catalogues, newspaper cuttings and ephemera on over 3,500 artists born or based in Ireland.

The Artists Database is a reference resource providing basic biographical and work details on each artist abstracted from the information contained in the hard copy files held in the Library.  It is important to realise that the records are a summary of the information held in each artist's file.  A visit to NIVAL is recommended to researchers seeking a comprehensive view of the actual files.

Although we have endeavoured to ensure the information is correct, it is inevitable, given the diverse sources of information, that some inaccuracies may occur.  Changes and updates are made on an ongoing basis and the Library welcomes suggestions, criticism, and donations of relevant material.

Filter Artists:

  • Reference Code:IE/NIVAL AR/2913
  • First Name: Sonia
  • Last Name: Shiel
  • Gender: Female
  • Date of Birth: 1975
  • Place of Birth: Dublin
  • Nationality: Irish
  • Website: www.soniashiel.com
  • Area Of Practice:
    • Painting
  • Artwork Type Technique:
    • Oil Painting
  • Abstract/Figurative: Abstract
  • Genre:
    • Landscape
  • Represented By: Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, 
  • Public Art: No
  • Size: 3
  • Manuscript Material: Yes
  • Physical Location: Artist Files Collection
  • Public Collection:
    • Other


1999 Appleloft Gallery, Sligo, Residency Award.
2002 Temple Bar Galleries and Studios, Dublin, Residency Award.
2004 Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo, Studio Residency.


1999 National College of Art and Design, Dublin. BA Fine Art
2007 IADT. MA Visual Art Practice


Sonia Shiel’s work pitches mankind’s aspirations for a better world against their odds. It exacerbates the bedfellow subjects, inherently human and unpitying, that go into making one. In recent installations, paintings and sculptures are contracted together by innuendo and installed like dominos, so as to compound the narrative. Idyllic scenes of industry, nature and society are underscored with a perverse violence usually associated with cartoons, while nodding to the the often impotent place we find ourselves, between the knowing of our mortality and the getting on with living. Within that, it explores its own artifice and the propensity of ‘art’ to be effective in the real world. Influenced by myth; economic, social and art history; horror and fantasy; moral and political philosophy and propagandist pulp; her installations are composed of individual paintings and sculptures, including videos and animated sculptures that share overarching narratives and the central materiality of paint. File contains newspaper clippings, press releases and images of the artists work.