We had a talk with Deya of Deyarcreations about her South Asian focused work in a multi-faceted environment with singing and art. Her work finds the intersection of creative art and social justice.
1) Tell us your story. Where are you from? What inspired you to start your work?
I don’t have an answer for the question “where am I from”! I moved around a lot when I was a child. Frequently moving from country to country, I learned how to adapt to multiple cultures from a young age. I grew up listening to Lataji and Ella Fitzgerald, speaking English at school and Bengali at home, and eating my fair share of pizza and daal. Being this odd mix meant that I was too South Asian for those in the homeland. However, I was also too Western for those in the motherland. Struggling with switching schools and making friends, I immersed myself in the arts. This meant that novels, sketchbooks, journals, music, and singing became my best friends. I created an imaginary world for myself. This creativity continued as I grew older and slowly, I began to share it via my social media page @deyarcreations.
2) What do you sing about? How do you believe your work can make an impact?
Being a naturally curious child, I explored and got training in all types of music including Piano, Hindustani Classical Voice, Jazz, Western Classical, Bangla, Bollywood, and more. My multi-genre singing background has allowed me to sing anything from English Pop to Bollywood to Bangla.
Currently, I’m passionate about preserving and uplifting my Bengali heritage through my music. There is so much rich Bengali literature that many people do not know exists. Through my covers, I work to make these pieces of music accessible and relevant to today’s generation of Bengalis as well as Non-Bengali speakers.
For other Bengalis, I believe my work helps give them a gateway to learning about themselves and their culture. For South Asians in general, my work exposes them to a unique aspect of Desi culture as well as helps them find acceptance in their bicultural identity.
In addition to the covers I release, I offer voice lessons where I use the fundamentals of healthy singing to teach others Western and South Asian genres. Teaching voice lessons has not only allowed me to help others become better musicians/singers but it has also allowed me to aid others on their cultural journeys.
3) Tell our readers more about your cartoons? What is the story around them? How did you come up with them?
I spent my entire school life doodling in the back of class (pay attention in class! I’m not advocating for this hahaha). I never took my doodles seriously but after starting to work full-time, I began feeling drained due to a lack of creative outlet. This led me to open up my Instagram page and start uploading my doodles. I didn’t have a process on how I started drawing them. It was just a compilation of what I have been through in my life as a third-culture kid. To my surprise, my cartoons started gaining momentum when I began posting them online.
My cartoons follow the story of two characters. Milo, the boy, who lives in the motherland and Benti, his cousin sister, who is part of the Bengali Diaspora. My cartoons explore their intercultural relationship as well as advocate for the South Asian community.
4) What do you believe is the best way to aid our South Asian community?
At my core, I believe that people should give back to society with their skills and talents. Being a South Asian creative woman, I choose to give back with my art and music. Through my art and music, I work to preserve Bengali culture, increase understanding of the Diaspora, and speak out against issues in the larger South Asian community.
5) What social issues do you believe are the most important?
All social issues are incredibly important! I’m especially passionate about helping those in the South Asian Diaspora come to terms with their bicultural identity, connecting the Diaspora with those in the motherland, and uplifting the Bengali community.
6) What is the most unique aspect about you?
I’m a multi-disciplinary artist, or a car(tune)ist, as I like to call myself! During the course of my life, a majority of my teachers kept telling me to choose one art form over another. I was repeatedly told that if I didn’t choose one, I would let everything go to waste. It took me a while to realize that each of my loves enrich and do not detract from each other. Today I’m proud of my multi-hyphenated artistic identity. I hope I can provide a space for others to celebrate their multi-faceted identities through my work as well.
7) Best memory when creating your cartoons or singing?
I don’t have a particular memory that stands out, but some of my best memories have been receiving messages from people saying that my work has helped them connect with an aspect of their culture or has helped validate their experiences. It’s extremely fulfilling to see that my work is having a positive impact on others and it motivates me to keep on creating!
8) Any last comments? Thoughts on the COVID-19 situation?
I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe!
Get in Touch with Deya
Email (For Voice Lessons/Collabs): email@example.com
For more updates on Deya and her work, visit Urban Asian.