This week we interviewed Ahndiya Kiburi, a powerful artist who is inspired by the beauty of nature. Ahndiya, as the recently former creative director of an ecology based art project One Voice, has worked to bring together communities around social and environmental issues, using art to create hope and positive change.
How did you establish your creative practice and why is it important for you in a time of climate and social injustice?
I have always had a passion for art. At the age of two, I would draw and paint on everything and anything. My art is an extension of my identity and what I believe in. It is my form of activism and advocacy for social justice and climate justice. Within the art world, there is a lack of individuals who look like me, I want to change that.
My art is an extension of my identity and what I believe in. It is my form of activism and advocacy for social justice and climate justice.
In what ways does the beauty of nature inspire you and your artwork?
Growing up, I was always very interested in the natural world. I grew up in the Monterey Bay, and I was absolutely fascinated with marine biology. The natural world had not shown itself in my work until I traveled to Costa Rica in my sophomore year of high school. Living in and experiencing nature can be very healing and calming. Nature allows reflection. My art is a reflective process, so in many ways it felt natural to marry my artwork with my love for the environment.
Living in and experiencing nature can be very healing and calming. Nature allows reflection.
Save The Turtles shows the harm we are doing to our world and our animals, how can we connect to each other to change our behaviour?
There needs to be a sense of community. Community usually has a common ground. Finding a common ground creates effective teamwork. In order to resolve the climate crisis, teamwork must be present.
You have just finished working as the creative director of an ecology based art project One Voice, how can creative community groups like these raise environmental consciousness and create change?
A sense of community, creates effective change. If a community decided to change one small aspect of their lifestyle to become more environmentally conscious that small change becomes a larger change. Togetherness creates change.
Togetherness creates change.
How can we address racial inequalities in the climate crisis and give voice to more black environmentalists and experiences?
Firstly, I think we need to acknowledge that the environmental crisis is also a human rights crisis.' I feel as though, throughout the media, the climate movement has been promoted for only those within a certain racial group belonging to a certain socio-economic class. That simply should not be the case.
That being said, there also needs to be a sense of empathy and understanding within the climate movement. For example, it needs to be understood that not everyone can become plant based due to “food deserts” etc. Environmental race inequalities need to be acknowledged and addressed, and then maybe more Black and Brown individuals would feel more welcomed and interested in the movement.
Environmental race inequalities need to be acknowledged and addressed, and then maybe more Black and Brown individuals would feel more welcomed and interested in the movement.
Ahndiya was interviewed by Events and Outreach Lead, Mattie O'Callaghan.