Shika/Shieko Reto (she/her) is a visual artist from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, whose work features trans women’s experiences in Malaysia, LGBTQIA+ rights, environmental concerns, and human rights issues. Learn more about her work in the interview below and by visiting her Instagram account.

Art is a platform for social justice, from the streets to online.

What role do you think art can play in social change, activism, and movements? 

Art plays a crucial role in activism. It’s been a vehicle for social change for so long, and still in this digital age, art is a platform for social justice, from the streets to online.

How would you describe your artistic practice in amplifying or supporting social movements?

Being a trans woman and an artist, I use art to express my experiences living in Malaysia. I contribute what I can to a few local feminist and human rights NGOs, including the artwork they need for training workshops, human rights manuals, and design.

“Break the Bias Campaign,” pixel art | Shika, 2022
This artwork is in conjunction with International Women’s Day this year, but with a local flavor. It’s a portrayal of an Indian trans woman.
“IDAHOT 2022,” pixel art | Shika, 2022
For International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, I created this artwork for personal use. I posted it to my social media account to celebrate the day with a portrayal of local drag queens.
“TDOR 2019,” pixel art | Shika, 2019
For Transgender Day of Remembrance, I created this graphic for a local nongovernmental organization, Justice for Sisters, which aids transgender people in Malaysia. The image commemorates our fallen sisters and brothers with a quote from our trans man friend, Faris Saad.