With every stretch and pull that Luvenia Kalia makes, not only does she make it seem so effortless but she also manages to put her audience in a state of awe as she performs her powerful dance moves. Below, we speak to the movement artist cum arts and culture producer on how she senses the world, being an overthinker and more.
When did your journey as a creative begin (both personally and professionally)?
I believe my journey as an artist began with watching my dad D.I.Y my doll house from broken furniture and items around the house. He used the frame of our kites to create this spiral stairs and I have this vivid image of him conceptualizing how to bring that to life.
That was my first exposure to art making but in terms of dancing and movement, I think my journey started from being very cautious of my two left feet when dancing at family gathering and house parties (we had a lot of them). I think somehow little me being the youngest wanted to have a sense of community and connection with the other people in the room and I equated that to getting better at my dance moves.
What is your life ethos and how does it relate to your creative journey?
I guess it would be "Trust the process". I am a planner, overthinker and used to be very incapable of living in the moment. Somewhere along the way, through internal reflection and battling my own demons, there was a shift in my life where I finally was able to let go of things that I cannot control.
This shift allowed me to trust the process and with that I finally witnessed how everything that I experience, my daily interactions, my emotions and thought processes tend manifest their way into my artistic work when I am not fixated on what the final product is going to look like. Without all that, my work is nothing but another sequence of movements.
What are some of the things your artworks are constantly seeking to explore?
Identity, the female experience, body language, grief, trauma, energetic exchange.
What type of artist do you wish to be, and what's your ultimate goal as a creative?
I wish to be someone that people enjoy working with. An artist that holds space, an artist that encourages and allows creative juices to flow in all directions. Lastly, an artist who is less afraid to be all that they are.
After playing characters of all sorts, most of my life, I am truly discovering my identity and embodiment through my work by acknowledging my experiences.
What was the most significant/impactful project for you thus far — why?
S K I N was one of my most significant and impactful projects thus far. It took me places that I have never gone before in terms of emotion and personal reflection. It allowed me to tell my story without verbalizing it in words. It also brought me closer to myself and allowed me to recreate my relationship with Penang after 9 years of living abroad.
How do you see the world?
The obvious answer would be through my eyes, but I think the obvious answer is the least accurate for me. I sense the world through my skin more than I see the world through my eyes. My instincts and a little bit of critical thinking has guided me through life. I guess the short answer is, I don't see the world, I sense it and I sense it through my instincts.
However, when I am forced to see the world I see it from a female body and how I want to see the world is through a decolonized lens furthest away from a binary approach. Clearly from my answer, you can assume that I am still defining how I see the world but I know what I would like to move towards.
What is your favourite and least favourite part of the creative process?
Looking for funding is my least favourite part because the struggle is real. The initial stages of research and discovery is my favourite part but also the dialogues that follow presenting the work.
What’s your guilty pleasure(s)?
Bad movies that are so bad they are good. It helps me to not take things too seriously!
How would you describe your creative and artistic style? Do you feel much has changed?
I define my artistic style or approach as experimental for the lack of a better term. A trained body layered on top of embodied experiences that I discover more everyday. I often work with the contradictions that exist in my embodied experience and the idea of moving for pleasure versus moving to please the eye. I value process, research and discovery over product.
I came from a more commercial dance background which I loved very much but now I am a lot more focused on artistic work that is a lot more intimate and personal. After playing characters of all sorts, most of my life, I am truly discovering my identity and embodiment through my work by acknowledging my experiences.
Who is someone you would love to collaborate with and why?
I would love to collaborate with a multi-sensory artist. I have been learning more about multi-sensory art and have a growing interest of how arts and science can merge to create immersive experiences/performances.
Please share with us who/what you are constantly inspired by!
I am constantly inspired by my mother. She is nurturing yet intimidating, strong yet sensitive and a mother but also a friend who constantly holds space for the people around her. Given the opportunity, the support and the platform, my mother would have been an artist. She gave me access to the platforms she wish she had and for that I am forever grateful.
Lastly, please shoutout 3 of your favourite local creative crushes and their IG handle!
- Theyvapalaan S Jayaratnam @warwhorelian
- Tess Pang @tesspang
- Quin Ooi @meequin