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Artists' Pandemic: Flora Nwakobi

Interview By Maia Poon

Art in all its forms is so essential for our emotional wellbeing, learning about others’ lives, and sharing our own stories. Especially now, with June 2020 being Pride Month, a pivotal moment for the Black Lives Matter movement, and in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the role of art is shifting but more important than ever. I had the opportunity to provide a platform for multidisciplinary artists and writers through online interviews, and they each had something unique to share. Keep creating!

Flora Nwakobi


Film director, Writer, Visual artist (painting)


Toronto, ON, Canada

1. Do you feel more or less connected to your art during social isolation?

It’s strange, but I feel so much more connected with my art during social isolation. I have so much extra time to think about how I exist in the world and my role. I now have time to reflect on my feelings and thoughts, as well as critique and challenge myself. All these feelings are what truly drive my artistic expression, and push me to express my emotions through a medium that is much simpler for me than talking.

2. Have you seen any noticeable changes in the subjects of your art?

I have recently been trying to expand my style beyond the art I created in high school which was heavily monitored by my teachers. Because of this, everything I create feels new. I am still trying to find my place and how I express things. I’ve been trying to have the main focus of each of my pieces be a particular emotion I feel I cannot describe with words, so recently the subject has pretty much been an introspection of myself.

3. Why is art important right now, with the pandemic and civil unrest around the world?

I believe art is so, so important right now because art is a reflection of reality, and is heavily impacted by reality. Throughout history, the most intense and impactful moments have resulted in some of the most intense and impactful art movements. Art has the ability to so incredibly embody the feelings and emotions of a city, event, or moment in time in a way that no other medium can and it is so powerful because of that. Art has the ability to make social commentary in a way that news outlets cannot, and documenting moments like this through art is just crucial.

4. How can art be used to share typically marginalized voices?

As a queer, Black, able-bodied cis-woman, I think as artists and art-consumers we must make sure that we uphold safe and welcoming art spaces. We must also call out, and call in injustice as we see it. We must make sure that the spaces in which we share our art include all kinds of voices, and the communities we are a part of are listening and including marginalized voices on all levels, including positions of power (this includes galleries and museums). If in a position of privilege, it can be a little, “hey, why wasn’t there a land Acknowledgment?” or “I am disappointed that there is not enough colour in this room” or “we are all able-bodied, and this is not an accurate representation of our society”. As long as we are artists and we are doing our part to amplify the voices that are usually left behind, then those who consume our art will also care and do so.


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