How did you become an artist?
K: I was introduced to the arts from a young age as I was involved in dance and theatre in and outside of school. I attended Intake school of performing arts so it was a natural progression to go into the arts. My mother, attended a writing group at Roseville art centre, and had her short story published. This inspired me, since I enjoyed writing stories, painting and drawing, and convinced my siblings or friends to be in my plays, or productions at school (and then later on in college and university). My grandparents were activists and were part of many campaigns in Chapeltown where artists often featured, and the basement of their home sometimes acted as a rehearsal space for musicians.
Who and what inspires you?
K: One of my early inspirations for poetry was the revolutionary Jamaican poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, his poetry contained the social commentary of the 70s and 80s. Louise Bennett, another Jamaican poet and storyteller and singer-songwriter David Bowie were also key influences at the time. Other artists such as Jonzi D inspire me, and that of the works of Brazilian theatre maker Augusto Boal and his ‘theatre of the oppressed’. Everyday life inspires me, it is theatre in itself, especially the communities in which people live. I like the fact that an audience can be more than just ‘spectators’ they can be and should be spect-actors.
What was the proudest moment of your career?
K: When I finished my first full poetry collection ‘Another Crossing’ and launched as a one-woman show at the West Yorkshire playhouse. Writing the collection was extremely personal and it was a lesson in trusting myself and the quality of my work. One of my writing mentors Jacob Ross once said ‘these stories are not yours to keep, they belongs to the people’ in others words I needed to let go, so other people could enjoy the collection of poems.
What do you think are the challenges for young artists?
K: Being confident enough to engage in activities available to them, there are far more things now than there was at the beginning of my career. Having said that, opportunities can be geographically based and sporadic or inconsistent so more than often, young people may lack the courage and drive to go further afield and step out of their comfort zone to track them down. Many young people may feel, they don’t belong in certain art spaces or buildings, It’s up to, those arts organisations to find ways to make those changes.
What can we expect from your Creative Café workshop?
K: You should expect the excitement of writing and performing and the chance to explore your imagination through the use of visuals and text. You’ll have the freedom to experiment because there is no right or wrong in this workshop, here one can put any fear aside and put your creative mind and heart out there.
Where can we find out more?
You can read more about Khadijah’s work ‘Another Crossing’ here:
British Council South Africa exchange http://badilishapoetry.com/khadijah-ibrahim/
Tedx Woman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUbiul6hduM
Don’t forget to check out Leeds Young Authors, established by Khadijah, which has received international acclaim and are the subject of the Multi award-winning documentary ‘We Are Poets’ which recently featured on the BBC