Amarachi Okorom is an actor, writer and spoken word artist who lives and works in Truganina. She is also our first artist featuring as part of Ghost Light whose work will premiere on Wednesday 6 May 2020. Get to know more about her and her work as an artist below.
Who is Amarachi? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as an artist.
I was born in Nigeria, moved to New Zealand when I was 2 years old and then later in life in 2013, I moved to Melbourne. My passion for creativity began to grow when I was in high school. It was my dream to star in a Disney show so I made sure I was involved in any performance I could be involved in. Over the years, my passion evolved to the point where I would now call myself an actor, writer and spoken word artist. I still love to perform however, what I love to do most is put my thoughts into words so I can better understand the world that I live in and hope that others gain that understanding from my work too.
What is your first memory of practicing writing? How did it make you feel?
When I was in high school, I would write a lot of stories based on my friends and their celebrity crushes. This stemmed from my fascination with romance movies and books. I would love to get their feedback and listen to them say how much they loved the story I wrote that ended up being 200 pages long! I started writing this story on loose leaf pages but then I eventually discovered writing on computers. Being able to bring characters and stories to life really excited me and as I was quite introverted and shy, I found that writing was a great way to express myself.
What is your connection to Wyndham and how does it inspire you and your work?
Since moving to Melbourne in 2013, we have always lived in Wyndham. We first lived in Tarnet then moved to Truganina after high school. Wyndham is my home and I have gone through many changes from a 16 year old teenager to a 23 year old adult while living here. I feel like my connections to the community have shaped or re-shaped who I am today. Wyndham is very community driven and it has inspired me to leave my bubble of comfort and connect with those who also live here. Without these connections, I would probably still be stuck in the same routine of home, work, uni and back home again. Through this community, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet so many amazing people and be pushed to limits I never thought were possible for me.
What do you hope to communicate through your work?
I hope to communicate truth, transparency and most importantly hope of some form. I feel like I owe it to 16-year-old me to be unapologetic in my work. I’m being the person I wish I was for myself and through this I hope to inspire others. I’m such a perfectionist so I aim to only put work out there that aligns with who I am. If I ever put work out that doesn’t sit right with me, it’s hard to hide it due to my passion and ability to be open when I speak.
What is Western Edge Youth Arts and how has it helped shape your work?
Western Edge Youth Arts is a community youth performance company that works with young people around Melbourne’s west. We work within communities and schools around the West. My first experience with WEYA was through their community youth theatre program in 2017. When I first joined with them, I was unsure of my artistic ability and how I saw myself as an artist. After the first year, I knew that I wanted to perform. I went from performing in community spaces to doing a regional tour performing on stages I never though I would be performing on! I have learnt so much about myself and my craft and I have really learnt to give myself the space to be as creatively free as I want to be. I felt seen, not only by other but by myself and I would say it was the catalyst to not only my self-growth but my growth as an artist.
How has the current COVID-19 situation, if at all, effected your work? What are your fears and hopes throughout this time?
I haven’t been writing as much as I used to because I’ve found it hard to find inspiration being stuck at home. Most of my projects have moved to online platforms which is good – I’m still adapting but it’s nice to have something to look forward to. I feared that it would ruin the progress I’ve made but it’s actually brought up so many other opportunities. I hope that when we come out of this pandemic, I’ll be able to expand my range and my ideas. I’ve learnt that there’s so many ways to create art and I’m excited to explore that.