Theresa Lola is a British Nigerian poet and artist based in London whose work focuses on mental Health, displacement, and social oppression.
How has your lived experience shaped your practice? My past and present experiences shapes the way in which I play with language, the atmospheres I am drawn to, and the happenings that peak my curiosity.
What are some of your biggest influences and motivations in your work? What issues are you passionate about working on? Mental Health, displacement, and social oppression; the knowing that if I don’t use language within my power to communicate, someone else, another layer of unreliable narration will communicate for me.
Can you tell us more about your use of text in your work? I am now interested in text as a malleable material, in the ways we can colour, rearrange, give texture to text with the aim of making its message more compelling and interactive.
Your recent work focuses on migration, community resilience, and hybrid identity. What do you hope this is adding to the conversation in the UK and how can art play a role in this more generally? My work has always been interested in the way individuals are emotionally transformed by an experience and how it causes them to relate with others. I am one of a million others who have migrated to the UK. As a poet I look forward and look back, uncovering ways to remain connected, and interrogating the roots of my disconnection from “home”. I hope my work adds to uneasy conversations about the human experience.
Where are you based and what excites you about the creative community around you? I am based in London, and what excites me is the pool of creatives finding joy in extending their tentacles. As creatives we circle back to similar universal themes, but in our diverse individuality we are reinventing familiar conversations. We have to, it stops the arts from going stale.