"Justice is what love looks like in public."
- Dr. Cornel West
Kiala Löytömäki is a multimedia artist, an organizer, an apprentice of the plants, an ever-learning social worker, and a birthworker uplifting land and community care in their praxis. Kiala lives and creates on Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh territory (Vancouver) with deep commitment to learning how to live in respectful relationship on these lands. Kiala moves, questions and dreams at the convergence of their mixed European ancestry (Sámi, Italian, Russian, Scottish), balancing the teachings of their Indigenous lineage and the complex history of the colonized/colonizing. They were grown in and are forever apprenticed to their Northwestern Sámi teachings. They were raised in the food and passion of their Italian Nonnis.
Kiala’s movement through the world is constructed through their exploration of the constrictions and expansions of identity, honouring the power of identity politics and growing identity, also, into a vast and lifelong story of discovery. In their dance with complexity, nuance, story, critical questioning and being an eternal student to the world, Kiala questions with curiosity the relationship between white privilege, queerness, lineage, and the meaning of indigeneity that lives in their body.
Kiala is animated by the fluidity and freedom of living in-between the realms. They gather wisdom from this liminal space to guide them in how to move through the world in service to the earth. Their process of being is informed by a search for medicine. In their Sámi teachings, medicine is that which brings balance. They have found medicine in the prevalence of love, in the exploration of grief, and in the vast beauty of how relationships (to all life) can be a balm for our wounds. Kiala seeks to be medicine for the world, in some small or large way, through the works they create, share and embody.
Kiala’s interdisciplinary art practice is rooted in tattoos, writing, drawing, painting and sculptural design. Their work is inspired by the depths of storytelling within and beyond time; the stories we build together as communities, the stories our ancestors live through us and the visionary stories of our liberated futures. In honouring the interconnection of all living beings, their art practice cannot exist without deep connection to food justice, community healing, and active commitment to co-liberation and the decomposition of white supremacy and all its structures.
Kiala is undone and remade by the questions:
♡How does grief transform and transport us?
♡How does healing flow through us personally to nourish collective healing and consistent movement towards justice, liberation and love?
♡How do we move beyond dichotomy to embody the fluid coexistence of many truths and many ways of being?
♡What does the language of biodiversity, which is the land speaking to us and through us, teach about healing, building and imagining beautiful worlds within and beyond the current violences of society?