Iyana Hill sheds light on cultural influences and expresses her own individuality
In honor of Women’s History Month, Urban Arts Space will highlight artwork created by our talented interns. In these personal interviews, you can learn about where their creativity all started and what inspires them to create art.
Iyana Hill is a Studio Arts major at Ohio State, with a Photography emphasis, in addition to majoring in African American and African Studies and minoring in Arts Entrepreneurship. Currently, she is an Exhibitions and Education Intern at Urban Arts Space and runs the UAS Instagram.
Which art area of study interests you most?
I would consider myself a visual artist, so I do not box myself in. The areas of art that interest me most are photography and ceramics. I think about my art as an installation more than just art itself so that I can create art that is more immersive.
Are there any art movements that interest you?
If I had to choose an art movement, I would say there are two that interest me: the Harlem Renaissance and Afrofuturism. For me personally, my art focuses on Blackness and culture, and I believe both movements explore these areas. Another area these movements focus on is innovation. As an artist, I am constantly thinking about how I can innovate how we look at Blackness.
Additionally, these movements are inspiring to me because the art industry has been and continues to be dominated by whiteness, and I am very interested in our accessibility and equality, especially focusing on the Black experience. Both movements are revolutionary and liberating, and that represents the art I want to make.
When did you start creating art?
I have been making art since I was little. My mom works in early childhood development, so my mom and my dad always had us doing art activities. I remember going to places that focused on the arts and sciences, but it wasn’t until high school that I took art seriously. I was always the kid who went above and beyond on projects to do something creative, but once I took photography I was thinking, “okay, we can do this for real,” and I could pursue this [as a career] if I wanted to.
I was also taking architecture classes because I thought I wanted to go to college for architecture, but then I decided to get my BFA. Honestly, that was the turning point where I decided to create, and that led me to where I am today.
What inspires you to create art?
Life, my personal experiences in life, and the power that exists in art. I think art is the most powerful form of communication and sharing or showing ideas. Art is honestly just so beautiful, and I think it’s freeing for me as a person because it has become an area where I become vulnerable. I also want to make a change through my art and liberate. Even if I only change one person, that is enough to inspire me to make art.
Can you provide a piece of artwork you created and walk me through the story behind it?
I’m working on a project right now for an upcoming exhibition where I’m exploring my lineage and my own personal Black experience through family and observations of my learned and experienced knowledge. This picture was the start of the project. The assignment was to talk about visibility versus invisibility, and I am very interested in vulnerability and connection. I only take pictures of individuals I know personally; that way, we are able to connect on a personal level.
I took a picture of my cousin for the photo, but I knew I also wanted to implement writing in the photo. I wanted to write about Black women in society, so I just wrote whatever came to mind to actively depict my thoughts. Just looking at Black women in society—or even Black feminism—it is not only about issues with women who are Black, but it also carries all other issues. Black feminists have been at the forefront of almost every movement, so just to think about the position of Black women in society and how I felt regarding those positions as a Black woman in society, I knew I wanted to write something about that.
acrylic marker on photo print, 12"x18"
Iyana Hill is an artist from Columbus, Ohio. Her choice of mediums are photography and ceramics. Through her work, she explores Black culture and celebrates Black culture as an act of liberation with the hopes of creating conversations around Blackness and showing the beauty and brilliance of Black people.