By Sana A. Malik
Meet Hana Shafi, aka Frizz Kid, a 23 year old Toronto-based artist who wants to change the way “wellness” art is created and shared. As a Brown Muslim woman, she’s keen to prioritize the experience of women of colour (WOC) — something she feels is amiss in current wellness work popular on Instagram and Tumblr. Even when social media can be saturated with negative messages, Shafi feels there is a space for more positive, affirmative messages that don’t water down a complicated mental health reality for WOC, immigrant kids, survivors of sexual assault, and trans and queer folk — folks she wants to make sure are heard too.
She recently showcased her work with survivors of sexual violence at Lost Words: A Sexual Assault Roadshow that started at Ryerson University, Toronto. In the few months she’s been sharing her illustrations, she’s seen her simple, yet deeply real messages on race, gender, sexuality, mental health and body politics go viral. We asked this fierce lady about what makes it hard for WOC to find a place for themselves in a wellness culture that can so easily miss the experiences of so many folks, and how she’s found a place in it. See below for the interview.