If music be the food of love, the arts feeds the soul.
By Rebecca | 31st July 2020
CREDIT: YETUNDE HANNAH
It is a salient fact that the arts has the potential to empower, share, communicate, and heal — in a form that goes deeper than words or physical touch alone. Aristotle advocated for the cathartic nature of drama and music; engaging with the arts helps to reproduce, and release, emotions one might find difficult to verbalise in everyday conversation. One, Drama, music, and poetry, can be used to “facilitate dialogue, perspective-taking... and to provide insights into the experiences of patients” in medicine. Two, In a similar vein, THE IDVIDL as a brand aims to harness this potential of the arts for good, and to apply it to the modern individual.
THE IDVIDL (pronounced ‘individual’) is an interdisciplinary Art and Design outreach practice that focuses on the importance of the personal relationship with the self. It explores this topic in their illustration classes, immersive installations, and workshops for the public, which is the company’s main approach to increasing self-care and self-awareness through the arts.
THE IDVIDL is the entrepreneurial brainchild of British independent artist and designer Yetunde Hannah Kayode-Akanbi, who is currently based in both London and Kent. She is a graduate of University of the Arts London (UAL), with a bachelor’s degree in Interior and Spatial Design. Her work revolves around identity and well-being, and she engages the wider community in these conversations through her artistic practice. Yetunde’s passion lies in understanding and celebrating the individual, and she utilises her expertise and craft to support others in finding their own creative outlets for expression and self-discovery. She aims to create inclusive spaces that allow participants to reconnect with themselves and their potential, taking the focus away from everyday pressures and responsibilities - at least for a little while.
THE IDVIDL has organised activities ranging from cinema documentary screenings, digital art workshops, and artist discussion groups. Many of them have explored pertinent questions such as:
“Where do your strongest influences come from?” “How (can you) push your passion?” “Are you familiar with your personality?”
Yetunde’s focus on offering interpersonal support and facilitation, through an arts-based process of introspection, is a recurrent ethos. THE IDVIDL aims to encourage personal self-fulfilment through the arts, which, with the current pace of life, can be easy to neglect and ignore. In most sessions, participants are fully immersed in activities designed to stimulate constructive discussions regarding abstract — and actual — representations of their identities, and lived experiences. Most notably, its recent projects include a Self-Illustration workshop-cum-exhibition event, and an ongoing digital art series that delves into deconstructing the unique ‘at-home’ aesthetic of the individual in the midst of quarantine.
The Self-Illustration event, which was held in February this year in Hackney, London, offered opportunities for participants to deconstruct and engage with their own appearance through the visual arts, using Yetunde’s own techniques and distinctive style. The 18 exhibited prints, which were displayed concurrently with the workshop, experimented with form, layering, texture, and a bold retro colour palette. Characteristics such as face shape, nose, eyes, cheeks, lips, eyebrows, eyelashes, and laugh lines, were outlined and defined with varying intensity.
“Through my workshop I created moments of intimate conversation sitting side by side with attendees, giving the opportunity to share views, opinions, experiences and stories that stem from the topic of the importance of their facial identity.”
THE IDVIDL’s emphasis on promoting personal welfare and potential, and on celebrating diversity through the arts, is a reason why the creative industries and their artists remain essential today. Theatre, music, dance, the visual arts, literature, broadcast media design, everything beyond and in between — they connect and inspire, and can endeavour to be a platform for aspects of society that remain unseen and unheard.
The individual is reflected in the art they create, and they need not be afraid of what they see.