The passion to do what you love knows no boundaries even when you have a demanding job that breathes on your neck every time.
Such is the story of our guest for this week’s edition of Women of Arts. Let’s dive right into the world of our Woman Of Art.
Who is Jo Nketiah and what does she do?
Josephine Amofaah Nketiah, stage name is Jo Nketiah I am a writer ( some genres include poetry, short stories and screen plays) but I am noted quite well with poetry.
*When did it all begin for you, and how did it start?
The whole writing began at age 5, where it was for a journal, or rewriting an existing children’s book I had read to suit my imagination.
While in JSS and SHS I took to writing novels with accompanying drawings( illustrations) more and in between, I still did some subtle poetry.
In University, I focused more on screen play, after a friend Kingsley Kojo Antwi, also known as Kojo Poet introduced me to working with final draft. That was my focus although I did a little bit poetry, even having radio readings sometimes in Kumasi, still encouraged by my friend.
*How has the journey been so far?
The journey has been beautiful so far. I have learnt from a lot of poets and each one of them has affected my embrace and handling of poetry. I got inspirations from people like Ntozake Shange, an American poet who is the author of “For Colored Girls”, Rupi Kaur, author of “Milk and Honey” and even my all time favorite soul singer Nina Simone. I can say my style of poetry has emerged from each one of these woman somehow and day in day out I keep an open mind to learn a lot from other poets… even my fellow poets.
*What impact has/is your work had/having on society?
I believe, gathering the feedback from my Facebook followers my work has help other people to reclaim their gift or talents of writing, inspired others to embrace the gift of vulnerability ( because that’s one thing I am trying to decorate my work with, the ability to insanely write your heart out.
On the other hand, I am sure there will be instances my works may not have have fully met expectations or have been misinterpreted or misjudged because I believe we live in a world of opinions and you can’t guarantee that everyone gets exactly what you are saying, and poetry is a powerful language that is subjected to interpretation
But in all, I think my works are making more positive impacts day in and day out as I share my own stories of victory, failure, love and loss, happiness or depression, whatever is it.
Looking back, do you regret ever embarking on this journey?
Not at all, I love the fact that I followed my passion. Although I am in the “science “ world, but I am glad I didn’t quit my passion and exploration in writing. I will keep writing till there’s no magic to write anymore.
*Any setbacks in your field of endeavor and how you think it can be overcome?
I think the major set back is the fear in trying to do more, or expand more. Also as a writer sometimes you get intimated when you see amazing works from other people and you begin to feel you are not good enough but everyday I keep to challenge myself to write more, that’s the only way I will be better.
*What is the current state of the arts industry from your perspective as an artist?
The art industry is broad so I just consider some few things I know.
In terms of Stage and theater, I salute Uncke Ebo White, Kobina Ansah and Chief Moomen for the great works. One thing is their consistency in making progress
But I believe there’s more room for upcoming ones to learn
In terms of Film, now some independent film makers are doing amazing with how stories are told. We need such and more in our industry
Now with poetry, although poets do not have a bigger platform here in Ghana but I know of people who are doing amazing things in their own small way, organizing open mic sessions like Ehalakasa, others are also in solo projects, and even those who take to social media to share their works! It’s amazing
So I think we are getting somewhere, we are not there yet, but that isn’t the goal, the goal is to keep working till we get there and beyond.
*Have you commercialized your arts yet? If yes, how difficult has that been? & If no, what are your reasons?
Yeah at a very minimal level. Selling my canvas and poetry throw pillows
I can’t really put my hand on a difficulty now. Also working on my manuscript for a poetry book.
*Are women appreciated in our arts space? Comment extensively if possible on the state of women in arts.
I think women in Art isn’t something that has to be tagged as extraordinary in my opinion because women are as well gifted just like men especially in the art world.
It should rather be seen as a very natural and default thing that any woman can do as long as they are gifted in that sense. I think when you begin to see things in that light, it will challenge everyone honestly not only women but people who simply want to dream.
I have people who think Jo Nketiah is a man but I would want people to first envision me as a writer first, any adjective that in their opinion fits a description before they get to know the gender behind who I am.
Women in arts are amazing and phenomenal just like men, and it is not even a matter of style, like this is a woman’s style or this is a man’s style, it’s all about a person’s personality and that should define their work and not necessarily their gender.
*What are the plans going forward for you as an artist?
The plan is publish and secure a copy right for all my works yeah
*Any other things you would like the general public to know about women in arts.
Having said that, I would want to see a lot of women venture in art, like film making, directing, stage plays and all the other amazing sectors in Art if only they love it! They shouldn’t think is a “ male talent” to be some of these things yeah.
The works of Jo Nketiah is available on various social media platforms via Facebook handle : Jo Nketiah and IG: jonketiah. You can also visit her blog jonketiah.com