Multimedia artists born Kinshasa and resides in London who specialises in film, print and appropriation. My practice has recurring themes of politics, identity and pop culture and tries to explore the relationship between the Americanisation of British culture and the influence it has on our identity. I find it hard not to be political or challenge the status quo whether it’s my art or social media, I am unafraid to speak my mind on certain issues that always seem to have on affect on minorities. I have that burning desire to change world and use my artistic platform as a tool. My influences range from Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, Kendrick Lamar, Patti Smith, Solange, Andy Warhol and most importantly my mother. All these people that have inspired me have challenged their political climates in creatives ways that have influenced generations of people and I hope to one day do the same. My mother is a fighter and that same blood runs in my DNA.
Could you describe your path to becoming an artist?
My path to becoming an artist consisted of uncertainty over my career choices, I wanted to be a lawyer but my uncle convinced me otherwise because he told me I would have to lie for people. I knew I wanted to speak up for people, I had my mother’s passion fuelled by my dads energy so I decided to do a foundation course in art and design and the rest as they say is history.
How does identity impact our lives as creative people and how does yours impact your creative work?
Identity impacts our lives as creatives because we are telling stories through our own lived experiences, our identities come in to difficulties when you’re being educated in a predominantly white middle class setting and trying to describe certain aspects of your work isn’t comprehended by the majority. Or sitting in lectures and the few times you see artists of colour represented is during black history month. I think in recent times our identities have been challenged, we’re either exoticized or placed into categories based on our race. As a creative it has impacted my work in more ways than one, I’ve seen the underrepresentation of black women in art, I’ve seen how they’ve tokenised some but ignored a lot of others but I am celebratory of the fact that black artists have been creating their own platforms for freedom of expression. I make work that has appropriated certain styles from popular artists and challenge these celebrated works and asked people to look again.
What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity means freedom, it means to be unapologetic and honest about everything you’ve seen and felt. Creativity is validity.
How do you nurture your creativity?
I nurture my creativity by either reading, listening to music, I’ve discovered they have Maya Angelou’s music and poetry on Spotify so on the nights when my heart feels a little heavy Miss Angelou voice tends to be the cure. I switch my phone on to aeroplane mode or engage in conversations with my local girl gang who help me deal with whatever is in my head.
What cultural barriers have you faced and how have you overcome them?
In terms of cultural barriers, one thing that has been a hot topic is hair, especially black hair. Before I graduated from university I decided to braid my hair because I wanted to be a better representation of myself and my culture, wigs and weaves are still a part of black culture and I think the argument where people still assume that black women where they hair straight or dye their hair blonde is because they “want to be white” is null and void. Unless you yourself have afro hair sometimes it’s easier to wear weaves and who doesn’t want to switch up their look from time to time. Black women have been historically ostracised because of the way they chose to wear their hair and you get certain non-black celebrities who fashion magazines have said they made cornrows or braids s trend again is absurd. I remember during my degree show someone was rambling to me about my art work then decided to change the topic of conversation and revert their attention to my hair asking me a ridiculous line of questions. I have hands down decided to make up stuff about how long I’ve grown my hair and that I am in fact related to Bob Marley. Other times I’d have to tell people firmly not to touch my hair because it makes me uncomfortable and it’s an invasion of privacy. Listening to Solange’s album A Seat At The Table has been such a beautiful thing it’s the soundtrack to my last year of university
What has been an important lesson you’ve learned so far?
One of things I’ve learnt so far is that your tutors aren’t always right about your practice especially when it comes to areas dealing with race and identity. Trusting your instinct. It’s important to have a circle of friends who understand you and when you are going through moments of self doubt you have people that will continually try and uplift whilst also offering you constructive criticism. Sisterhood is a magical thing hold it and cherish it. Being honest with yourself and your creativity is important too.
How has social media and the internet helped you as a creative?
Social media has been one the best places to navigate my creativity. I’ve connected with a few artists and have seen more representations of black female artists than I have done in my entire four years of art school. I’ve been able to engage in conversations about representation, race and culture from diverse background and it’s amazing the shared experiences that we’ve had but also the incredible support system that we have built up for ourselves. It can be overwhelming seeing the progress that others have made but everyone’s time will come and not everyone’s journey is the same. But I have seen more representation and diversity on my instagram feed than any gallery.
What kind of projects are you working on now?
I’ve been working on my poetry and collages and trying to see whose art I can appropriate, I really want to get back into making films again since it’s been a while.
How would you describe your artistic style in three words?
That’s still quite a hard one to describe, Honest, revolutionary (because idaf), open are the few words that spring to mind.