Leila Fri

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Tell us a bit about yourself!

 My is Leila Fri and I’m primarily interested in 2D works such as illustrations, painting, and drawings. I’m interested however in an array of disciplines such as interactive media, photography, film, editing, and sculpture.

What drew you to these practices?

I’ve found that I have been drawing for a lot of my childhood without much thought into it, it was however after my teacher’s encouragement that I found that I was interested in creative fields. On a more personal level, I find creating art a relaxing, unwinding experience that I make purely for my own needs and desires.

Do you think it is the creative practitioner’s responsibility to be conscious of ethical art making?

I try to be a considerable practitioner by thinking about context and trying to draw from my own experiences in attempt to not offend others from different cultures. I also try to be a more ethical creator by ensuring that I research – not entirely the methodological manner of researching but more rather just absorbing knowledge from the world around us and trying to be as ethical as possible. I believe that anyone that produces anything should try to be as empathetic and understanding of the diversity of their audience as possible, being conscious of the process of creating your work enables you to produce works which can mean something for everyone and not some people.

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What are tips that you have for other artists / creative for ethical art-making:

Read and try to exit your own bias bubble, constantly thinking about different perspectives of different scenarios you’ve been in yourself.

How does culture interplay into your practice?

To be honest, I find that my works are quite apolitical, this is however much more related to the way I work however especially on a work which I have created with little prior planning. I just enjoy drawing but can definitely see how it could affect others works as it’s a very powerful tool!

Do you actively aim to avoid cultural appropriation in your work?

Cultural appropriation is something that a lot of people struggle with, as many people aren’t conscious of where they are pulling their ideas and inspiration from. I think that being a professional practitioner requires you to be respectful to your influences and to have a more holistic understanding of why and how you use your influences.

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What are your thoughts on cultural appropriation in creative fields?

I don’t like to speak for people of other cultures, but when I find a work which appropriates from my own culture, I try to remind myself that when most people appropriate they are trying to pay homage to my culture, rather than steal it for their own gain. In creative fields especially, people should be very actively aware of how they draw influences from other cultures and question whether they are exploiting or drawing from these works.

Check out more of Leila’s expressive work @thistle.b & @curliefrii

Pledge towards ethical art practice today: Sign the petition.

Photo of Leila part of the Screen Sirens series; shot by Rosalie Waugh and Hannah Lesser

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