Janine Ilya (b. 1996) is a multi-disciplinary Canadian-Rwandan artist, based in Toronto. Artistically known as J. Ilya, her practice centers around capturing the subtleties of intimate moments, from the complex and unique perspective of the Black mind. She looks at how the concepts of intimacy and vulnerability – in relation to others and oneself – contribute to the process of identity formation. Drawing from her memory, observations and communities, J. Ilya creates colourful contrasting imagery, which speaks to the chaos and beauty of personal and collective growth. Allowing for the materials to guide her, she intentionally uses multiple mediums such as painting, textiles and recycled objects to imitate the process of transformation, by giving them new meaning.
The sentiment ‘be gentle with yourself’ has led her to share her worldview through the arts.