Rayana Kalombo, is a multidisciplinary artist from Montréal, with a current focus on painting and poetry. In addition, she is a singer-songwriter and founder of Le Royaume Agency, which is a creative development service.
Rayana utilizes art to connect people deeper to God, themselves, and their community. Through the use of vibrant colors and an underlying theme of connection; her work pays tribute to her Caribbean background.
The collection “Where is Love?” explores themes of love and faith. Her solo exhibition “Where is Love? Chapter 1” took place in November 2023; it was accompanied by poems and a live poetry performance. Chapter 2 of the 4-chapter event series, is set to take place in 2024, as a poetry book launch.
To add to her wealth of experience, Rayana is currently pursuing a Bachelor in Art Education: Visual Art at Concordia University.
YES: When did you start your artistic journey and what were some of your goals when you started?
Rayana Kalombo: Growing up I was a shy kid who had difficulties communicating my thoughts and needs to people around me. When I was 5 years old I started drawing images that demonstrated what was going on in my inner world. Fast forward to 2020, I started exploring the world of visual art by creating paintings with oil paint. I shortly after started my first collection which I recently showcased in a solo art exhibit. I aimed to create a body of work that invited people into a discussion. Besides desiring to share my artwork in various places, I primarily wanted to continue the same trend I started as a kid, which was using art as a tool for communication.
YES: What stage are you at now? What have been your greatest achievements?
Rayana Kalombo: I am currently studying Art Education: Visual Art at Concordia University, delivering creative development workshops on poetry, art, and music to community centers and schools, doing commissions, and selling art. After partaking in a few group exhibitions, in November 2023, I had my first solo exhibition “ Where is Love? ” Chapter 1, which explored themes of love and faith.
Despite feeling the accomplishment from creating a life centered around art; I felt a sense of great achievement from using art as a tool in creating space for others to explore their emotions, reflect on their ideologies, and engage in community. The exhibit showcased 7 paintings from the “Where is Love?” collection, which was accompanied by poems and a live poetry performance.
Being able to give people an opportunity to enjoy art while also partaking in a heartwarming discussion, was the greatest highlight for me so far as an artist.
What were/are your biggest struggles?
Rayana Kalombo: Something that I struggled with the most was knowing which order to pursue my ideas in. Being that I’m a multidisciplinary artist experienced in poetry, painting, film, and singing-songwriting, I found myself in a tug of war in which artistic practice to highlight in my career, because I originally assumed that I had to choose.
Merging my art forms began the process of bringing clarity.
What was the problem you were experiencing before you came into YES?
Rayana Kalombo: Before receiving services at YES through their insightful workshops and business coaching options, I experienced setbacks in structuring how I wanted to pursue my career as an artist.
I found success in providing my creative development services, delivering workshops, giving lessons, and also doing commissions, however, for my artistic journey I needed help to bring clarity and steps for the ideas that I had.
What did you find as a result of using our services? What was the best thing about it?
Rayana Kalombo: I experienced breakthroughs through various YES workshops and events, however the business coaching I received from Stacey Lavender, has elevated my practice due to her ability to give guidance on actionable steps.
For example, in one of our sessions, she asked me a few questions that inspired me to decide to make “ Where is Love? ” a 4 Chapter event series. Chapter 1 took place in November 2023, which highlighted the paintings, and the next “ Where is Love? Chapter 2”, is set to take place in spring/summer 2024 and will feature my upcoming poetry book alongside art.
Through coaching, I received clarity on how to continue exploring themes of love and faith in my work while highlighting different aspects of my creative abilities. I received concrete ways on how to not be stuck in a tug of war between the ways I express myself, but hold space for everything at an appointed time.
How do you feel about the service you have received from YES?
Rayana Kalombo: The services that I have received from YES have been monumental in my journey as an artist.
Clarity, structure, guidance and practical skills are things that each entrepreneur needs and through YES, I was able to have access to those things. As an artist, we are not always exposed to what entrepreneurship looks like in our field and I’m glad that YES provides resources to change the stigma of “the starving artist” to “the thriving artist”.
Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share?
Rayana Kalombo: YES has been a key resource in my development, I thank my business coach Stacey Lavender, for her wisdom and guidance. I also extend an invitation to those interested in experiencing a “Where is Love?” event, who want a commission or art/poetry creation workshop to stay in touch:
Email: [email protected]
I hope that everyone who reads this keeps on striving to achieve the big dreams in their heart and keep holding space for community.
To learn more about our services for Artists, click here.