Identity, fluidity, and femininity is central to the multimedia artist’s creative practice
is Maya Campbell?
Maya Campbell is a Brixton-based multimedia artist who draws inspiration from femininity, nature, her dual heritage, and themes of psychology and psychosis. Using moving image, poetry, analogue photography, and an intensive research process, she weaves visual tapestries relating to both deeply personal and universal themes.
Many of her pieces explore the experience of the ‘Other’ in contemporary society and respond to ancient cultural practices. Her work is playfully ambiguous and fluid, with her experiences at the core of her creative practice. Let’s hear from Maya about the inspiration, experiences, and creative processes behind her work.
is the biggest inspiration behind Maya’s work?
Maya: “My work is deeply personal and cathartic, it enables me to reimagine questions and imagery that exists in my mind, beyond verbal language. Many different things inspire me, but what it comes back to is ambiguity, transformation, and reflection. I respond creatively to my grandmother’s artwork and enjoy collaborating inter-generationally, exploring themes related to our shared Nepali heritage but through a more contemporary lens.
I also really love the research process that comes with any new project or interest, the not knowing of how an idea will manifest and shift – the creative process as an alchemy in discovering imagery from the subconscious.”
“My work is deeply personal and cathartic, it enables me to reimagine questions and imagery that exists in my mind, beyond verbal language.”
did Maya decide to create her latest project Adding A Face?
Maya: ““Adding A Face” is a short poetry film that was conceived through looking back to the ancient practice of mask making, especially that of my Jamaican and Nepali heritage, and their cultural and spiritual function in modern society.
The idea first came into my awareness after feeling extremely conflicted about the huge collection of stolen colonial artefacts on show at the British Museum – one of the biggest recipients of objects wrongfully taken through violence. In a post-Brexit society, it felt even more criminal; these objects seized from Africa, with a priceless spiritual significance, in stasis not only in the UK but in countless collections across Europe – fetishised and severed from their homelands.”
does Maya’s own experiences and heritage impact her creative practice?
Maya: “I’m very interested in the position of the ‘Other’ in Western culture, coming from a mixed heritage and experiencing life as a woman – identity is central to my work and I believe in fluidity in all beings, so a sense of this does translate into my practice. I come from a creative family, my uncle is a musician, my grandma and mother are both artists, and my aunty is a multidisciplinary artist like myself – so growing up in a tightly-knitted family definitely encouraged creative thinking and expression in all forms.“
“...identity is central to my work and I believe in fluidity in all beings, so a sense of this does translate into my practice.”