A headshot of Sarah Uwadiae
Sarah Uwadiae | Photo by Motif Photography

Sarah Uwadiae

Dynamic emerging artist is making her mark in the film and theatre community

Cherie McMaster

Sarah Uwadiae moved to Calgary from Nigeria in 2015 to study for a master’s degree in theatre design, and is now a set and costume designer who also works in film and story creation. Uwadiae is also this year’s recipient of the RBC Emerging Artist Award as part of the Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards.

“As a designer in Calgary and just as a human being, as a creative person, I have always been interested in multiple areas of storytelling, multiple mediums of art creation. I’ve never just been laser focused on one thing, I’m incapable of…  staying in one lane. For me these are all my lanes,” she says.

“I love storytelling. For me, storytelling is just so powerful — and in theatre design I don’t get as much agency over the stories that I tell as I do as a filmmaker or in writing, or even in creating a work of visual art. I enjoy storytelling and visual art, I enjoy investigative practices of just curiosity allowing my curiosity to fuel my artistic choices and the stories that I get to tell.”

Uwadiae is also intrigued by her own experience and the experiences of other African immigrants, or Black immigrants, into Canada. “The intricacies of our stories, I feel, are extremely undertold — and as a filmmaker I’m really interested in telling those stories and shining the light on undertold stories.“

Uwadiae received her RBC Emerging Artist Award at the Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek on November 4, 2022. The award recognizes up-and-coming Calgary-based artists in the early phases of their careers who choose to live and build their careers in Calgary from the onset. 

Listen to this week’s podcast to learn more about how Sarah Uwadiae chose Calgary as her home, her love of storytelling, and becoming the 2022 recipient of the RBC Emerging Artist Award.

On November 16, 2015, Calgary Arts Development hosted a working session with approximately 30 creative Calgarians from various walks of life. Many of the small working groups voiced the need to gather and share more stories of people living creative lives.

That need has turned into The Storytelling Project.

The Storytelling Project raises awareness about Calgarians who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, effecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

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