“I feel like I’ve escaped to the real world, I think I was in a little box”
Norradean has since emerged as an adult with a clearer sense of who he is – confident, informed, opinionated – which he attributes to the life lessons he learnt during that turbulent time. He now spends his time in the company of London’s creatives – a far cry from the crackhouse – having undergone a transformation from street kid to poet. “CanvAs almost becomes me,” he says of his intensely personal poetry. “That’s the point behind the word CanvAs – I’m just a canvas. Every story is a stroke of paint on the canvas.” In a sense it’s a form of purging these stories from his psyche so he can move on with his life. “I just want a sense of achievement and to create something,” he muses.
Recounting the constant microaggressions he’s faced throughout his life on account of his skin colour, Norradean argues that “being mixed race, you don’t really fit in, but it works to my advantage, there’s something different and everyone’s more inquisitive about someone different. But at the same time, if you’re not comfortable with being different, it puts the attention on you.” He argues however that classism is more prevalent than racism in London. “My colour shouldn’t even be a topic of conversation, but you just have to learn to get on with it, not hide behind it.”
The next offering from CanvAs will be the release of four new videos in the following few months. However while Norradean has historically been the face of CanvAs, he no longer wants to feature in the videos themselves. “I’m going to disappear, I’m literally going to go to the back,” he laughs. “We had nobody else to put in the videos, nobody else understood the idea behind it.” The plan is to continue to use Norradean’s poetry but with other artists on the screen. Thus only one video will feature him and it will be his last. I suggest he never says never, however he states: “Once the book goes out, that’s it, I’ve done what I had to do. I’ll just build CanvAs,” he concludes. Fortunately for Norradean, the project is based on strong foundations – that they have been perfecting their art form made on a broken laptop and with borrowed cameras is testament to that.
Check Canvas Pieces at http://www.youtube.com/user/CanvasPieces