The Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation (ICAI) is excited to announce that the Artist of the Month for October is a performing artist, Estefania Saldarriaga, born and raised in Colombia and living in Canada for the last 15 years.
We were fortunate enough to sit down with Estefania and chat about her artistic journey and the challenges immigrant artists still face today in Canada.
Tell us a little about your artistic journey.
My journey has been highly constructed and positively impacted by some life-changing events that contributed to whom I am today; events such as an accident that almost claimed the life of my mother, and the birth of my children. The appreciation I have for this land that welcomed me with open arms and my faith in God have all been the stepping stones upon which my journey has been built. It has not always been easy but worth the effort.
What are the challenges you are currently facing as an immigrant/newcomer artist?
I would say the capacity of spreading the word about what I do in a very competitive arena has been challenging and as I told you at the beginning of the interview the fact that my life as an artist came to a holt when I become my mother’s caretaker after a serious accident and life had to continue but in a different way meant that I did not have the time to build a career or a name in Canada much earlier in life.
What inspires you to create your work?
I am a multidisciplinary artist who loves to inspire others through dance, song, and visual arts such as theatre and painting. Several things move me to create some of them are Beauty, Happiness, and great rhythms from my Latino- American roots.
One of the things that move you to create is your Latin American Roots, how is that heritage influence your life as an artist?
I would say it is 80% of the main component expressed in the material that I bring as an individual, being a Latin American means I am by nature very expressive, warm and inviting, the connection with the public has been crucial whether it is through my acting or dancing there is always a great sense of involvement with the viewer and that is what I always aim to do through my presentation and motivation.
Tell us a little bit about your achievements in the artist community in Calgary.
I have had the opportunity to take part in several events, I have taken part in theatre productions both in English and Spanish, I was a performer for the Immigrants of Distinction Awards in Calgary, I have taken part in several events as a folkloric dancer in the city and have shown and sold my paintings in various local venues.
Can you tell us about your goals as an artist?
I am hoping to perform a couple of times a month and get to be known in Calgary on a broader scale. I am eager to take part in future projects that promote cultural appreciation, getting to join other artists on stage while performing, acting, and bringing lots of inspiration and creativity to Calgarians.
What message you would like to send to the new artists coming here to Calgary?
I would love to share my passion for cultural dance and music as well as my interpretation of multidisciplinary arts involving younger audiences.
The message I would like to send to new artist coming here is:
“Remember a grain of sand is very small but once you put many grains together the results can be colossal” Your accomplishments may seem small at first but with a good work ethic, great effort, and kindness; you are bound for success no matter what comes your way!”
She lets us know that she feels honoured and grateful to be the Artist of the Month. ICAI played a major role, in opening doors of opportunity. She said that ICAI helped her grow by giving her the support that many of our immigrant artists need.