Nastassia Aikman is ICAI’s artist of the month. She is a Performing Artist and she started writing poetry at a very young age. She wrote and performed her very first piece titled “My Childhood” at an event at church at 16 years old and the reception was incredible. She immigrated to Canada in 2009 and has been writing and performing ever since in and around the city of Calgary at various events.
ICAI linked up with Nastassia Aikman to learn more about her Arts in this interview. Please read and enjoy her world.
What is your name?
Hi I am Nastassia Aikman
Tell us a little about your artistic background and journey?
I grew up reading and reciting poetry by the iconic Louise Bennett Coverly, who is a Jamaican poet, performer, storyteller and so much more. She is my biggest inspiration thus far. I started writing poetry because of her influence and my exposure to her at a very young age. I wrote and performed my very first piece titled “My Childhood” at an event at church when I was 16 years old and the reception was incredible. I immigrated to Canada in 2009 and I have been writing and performing ever since in and around the city of Calgary at various events.
What is your Artistic practice?
I am a Performing Artist
How long have you been in Canada?
Have you had opportunities to showcase your works since you arrived in Calgary?
Yes, to some extent
Can you tell us what inspires you to create your works?
My inspiration comes from a few different places. One being my family, friends and often current events. Another source of inspiration comes from me seeing other artists creating and performing, that motivates me as well. My most recent inspiration though, came through Amanda Gorman and her inaugural poem a few months ago. Her piece titled “The Hill We Climb” resonates with me so much.
What are the challenges you are currently facing as an immigrant / newcomer artist?
I think the biggest challenge I would say is having the opportunity to share your story or your art, whatever form that art takes.
What would you like to share with the people of Calgary about your works?
I love writing and I believe that my work should have an impact on the reader. I want when people hear or read a piece I have written; they have an experience. So, I always write my pieces and try to incorporate personal experiences, as well current events, and things that people can relate to.
Can you share some pictures of your works with us? Here is a link
Please provide your contact information for individuals and businesses to reach you (e-mail and phone number)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Phone No: 587-899-9758
Tell us how the journey has been so far and what opportunities you are looking for?
The journey has been great so far. It has been such an honour and privilege to have the opportunity to showcase my poetry in and around the city. The reception and support from viewers have also been incredible. I’d like the opportunity to be able to showcase more of my work around the city and beyond. I’d like the opportunity to share my stories and experiences and in doing so motivate other artists to do the same.
How do you feel being selected as the artist of the month?
Surprised. In shock, disbelief, but extremely grateful and honoured. It is such a privilege to be recognized and have the opportunity to share my story. It is not something that I take for granted. Thank you so much to the ICAI team for the recognition.
How did you know about ICAI and how have we impacted your artistic growth?
I learned about ICAI through Toyin who invited me to perform at an event at the library in 2019. ICAI has been a great experience so far. I have had the opportunity of meeting some amazing artists and even collaborating with a visual artist in the city. That was a first for me and an incredible experience. ICAI has definitely helped me grow and step out of my comfort zone. I am more comfortable writing poetry in my Jamaican dialect “Patois,” but the most recent event I did with ICAI, allowed me to step away from my comfort zone and try something new.
Have you attended ICAI’s event before, how do you feel about them?
ICAI is great. The overall interaction with the team and other artists has been great. I have attended two events so far by ICAI and both experiences have been amazing. I’m truly thankful to the ICAI team for giving me the opportunity to showcase my work and I hope that I will continue collaborating with the ICAI team.
What are the goals you are hoping to achieve in the next few months through your arts?
I am hoping to continue to share my story and hope that individuals will find meaning, be impacted and inspired by my work. If someone gains inspiration and or finds hope through my work, that would be the ultimate prize for me. My goal is to bring hope, inspiration, influence and meaning to someone who might be feeling despondent especially in these times. My goal is to encourage someone to share their story, be authentic on their journey, do what they love, and walk in their purpose as only they can.