Project Sheela is a street art project founded by two Dublin based artists to celebrate, commemorate and commiserate with the history of women's rights and female sexuality in Ireland. Sheela na gigs are medieval stone carvings of naked women displaying their vulva, they are found all over Europe, with most being found in Ireland. In modern times Sheela has come to represent female empowerment and strength.
Project Sheela celebrates International Women's Day (8th March) by paying tribute to sites that are significant to women's rights. Sheela appears in locations related to both historic and current issues and draws attention to areas that still need progress, change or revolution. The treatment of women in Ireland's recent history is more than often dark, grim and tragic, with lots of open wounds. Project Sheela hopes to heal some of those wounds and to promote an attitude towards women and their sexuality that is positive and empowering.
Each year the project raises money for important women's charities. In 2020 Sheela donated €400 to Saoirse Women's Refuge. In 2021 Sheela donated €1207.43 to Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.
Details and stories about the locations each year are first posted on Instagram here: @projectsheela
A limited edition zine featuring all locations is made each year.