Adanna Amira and Hailey Nickai Smith: Creating opportunities for young artists

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

As a creative, the art world can often be a difficult one to enter. Adanna Amira and Hailey Nickai Smith know that to be true and have first-hand experience as Hailey is a singer and actress and Adanna has a background in visual arts.

As a result of their love for the arts as well as social events, Amira and Smith created Art of Identity, a platform for BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) creatives. Art of Identity hosts recurring Black Arts Appreciation events to give these artists a voice and opportunities to showcase their work, and meet new people.

We spoke to Adanna and Hailey about why they started Art of Identity and what they hope for.

What did the process of starting Art of Identity look like?

A & H: The most important thing for us in the early stages of creating Art of Identity was establishing our brand. We worked with graphic designers to create our logo and launched our social media to begin to create a feed that best displayed our aesthetic.

Why is providing art opportunities for the young BME community important to you?

A & H: It was during our studies that we noticed a gap in the market for the kinds of events we wanted to do. It came to our attention that a majority of student events, especially those aimed at the BME community, were predominantly parties or raves. Even though there were arts-based events offered; they just didn’t appeal to young BME creatives like ourselves. So we set out to create events that provided a platform for BME artists to showcase their talents and audiences to enjoy the atmosphere.

You founded Art of Identity in 2017, when did you realize that the platform was taking off and you were doing something that people wanted to be a part of?

A & H: The success of our first event, Black Arts Appreciation, is what truly made us realize the great and impactful potential our events had. The feedback from attendees was amazing and we had quickly established a following and a growing database of artists interested in working with us.

What do you usually hope for out of the events that you put together?

A & H: Enjoyment is of course at the core of our events. We want our audiences to be entertained by the performances/activity as well as the overall vibe and atmosphere created. Additionally, we also try to push the networking aspect, encouraging our audiences to liaise with each other, the artists, and of course ourselves to make those key connections. We strive for a creative and energetic environment.

What does the future of Art of Identity look like? Any plans?

A & H: The future of all event companies is rather ambiguous at the moment, of course. However, we plan to use this time wisely; working on making even more connections in more cities, looking into grants to support future projects, and even doing some rebranding. But most importantly, we plan to come back with a bang and continue to offer amazing social events once it is safe to do so.