Artist’s Name: Alana Igbe
Name of Brand: Ṣẹda
Art form: Painting on terracotta and wood.
Why do you do what you do? When did you realize a passion for what you do?
I have always loved to create. I can honestly say that I was born with artistic ambitions, and any way that I can express myself through art is wonderful to me. I do what I do because I enjoy it. Painting is therapeutic for me. Being able to envision something and have it come to fruition is gratifying. I believe that handmade, hand painted, or reimagined flowerpots and furniture are unique artistic expressions that many people haven’t tapped into yet. I’d love to keep going and growing.
What is your educational background?
I grew up in Nigeria and that’s where I went to AIS Lagos for elementary school. I moved to Jamaica just before high school and have lived there since. Once I graduated [with honors] and went to 6th form, I took a break from education to explore myself, progress as a person, make mistakes and learn from them, and live a life worth telling about. I’m currently at UWI getting my bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminology. I haven’t taken any form of art class since the 9th grade. As I said, I think I was just born to create so a lot of what I do just flows through me straight from my soul.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced while trying to pursue your passion?
I have two major challenges: funding for my work, and my own self-doubt… [I’m] working on both.
Have you encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams?
What are some of the fears that you face even today?
My biggest fear will always be self-doubt. Sometimes I become stagnant when I get anxious about my work and it takes me a long while to get back into the flow of creating, and that goes beyond Ṣẹda. As an artist, I think we all worry about how our work will be received, or if we have what it takes to be successful, or if we will continuously evolve or get stuck and won’t have the ability to keep creating.
How do you deal with those fears?
They are things to learn from and grow from. I try to meditate. If I’m able, I try to work just a little bit at a time so I keep going. I remind myself of how far I’ve come and how far I will go if I put in the work. I also remind myself that I love my work and I love what I do, and that’s essentially why I’m doing it.
How do you work? What is the method to your ‘madness’ and how do you filter your creativity?
No method, really. Seems to be strictly madness. I find inspiration at random times, and write down or do a quick sketch of those ideas, and work on them when I’m able to.
What role do you believe “the artist” has in society? / How do you feel your artform has the power to benefit society?
I think artists are some of the most important people in the world. Art brings a kind of light, a sense of wonder, and a sense of escape into the world. When we see painted murals on walls, go to an art gallery, watch films that move us or make us laugh, or read a story that triggers our wildest imagination…I think that’s such a beautiful thing. Without artists and dreamers, I don’t think even some of the important scientific or technological advancements we’ve had would have come to fruition. The world needs more bright and curious people. I hope more children are encouraged to be creative.
Out of all your work, which piece resonates the most with you?
To be honest, my writing does. I won’t say which exactly. I just feel very connected to my words.
Where do you see yourself going?
I see myself going all over the world. I want to be able to share my creativity and light with others. I want to learn different styles from different cultures. I want to create all sorts of things.
What elements of your career bring you the most stress?
Certainly finances and self-doubt.
The word “Ubuntu” means “I am because we are”; how have you seen that reflected in your own life?
I have incredible friends near and far who have been a source of inspiration and encouragement. Friends who are patient and are willing to teach, friends who help when they can, or ones who simply tell me they love me and not to give up when I feel defeated. I also strive to be a person like that with my own friendships. I think moving and growing together benefits everyone.
How has another artist or creative supported you to pursue your passion?
I have done quite a few workshops. The people in charge of those workshops offered so much insight, and since they have been people I’ve admired, I take all of their encouragement to heart. As an aspiring filmmaker, any film or show that moves me inspires me too. My friends who are photographers, filmmakers, painters, sculptors, etc. find different ways to support me, and it mainly comes in the form of reminding me of my worth or offering any sort of guidance when I am ready. I’m so grateful for them.
What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?
Love yourself even in your darkest moments, and be soft with yourself. Forgive yourself if you haven’t accomplished what you want. Stand up for yourself when people do not believe in you, because you know that you believe in you. Fail, fail, and fail again…and then go right back to it. Never give up on yourself or your passion. The results will come. Surround yourself with good people. Keep going.
“I have incredible friends near and far who have been a source of inspiration and encouragement. Friends who are patient and are willing to teach, friends who help when they can, or ones who simply tell me they love me and not to give up when I feel defeated. I also strive to be a person like that with my own friendships. I think moving and growing together benefits everyone.”
~ Alana Igbe