We had the good fortune of connecting with Idara Bassey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Idara, how do you think about risk?
I think risk has been a foundational aspect of my entire professional career. During my first year of law school, I ran across the book, “Do What You Love the Money Will Follow” which introduced me the concept of work being an avenue for creative self-expression. From then on out it was incumbent on me to find ways of working that were in alignment with my personal values. The toothpaste was out of the tube as it were and there was no going back, so I have taken professional and creative risks to examine what I stand for and for making sure the actions I take, the activities I participate in and the affiliations I have are reflective of what I believe in- and over years, not everything made the cut. I had to step away from things where I felt a disconnect or felt morally conflicted about even when it was difficult to do, or it was an unpopular (or unusual) stance to take. Over the years I have learned that I don’t thrive or give my best when I am working at cross purposes with what I believe. It occurred to me that while my formal training was in law that there was a creative side of me that brought me a lot of joy that I wanted to integrate into my life somehow. I continued to devote my spare time to slowly build up a body of creative work and that has been integrated into my first collection of wearable art and housewares that I formally launched in 2020 (IEB Visual Collection). 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My mixed-media collages (and the basis for IEB Visual Collection) are an avenue to explore various cultural, ethnic, and spiritual dimensions by bringing together ordinary materials such as newspaper, magazine print paper, cardboard, and the like in exciting, unorthodox ways. A key part of the evolution of my work involved staying focused on my vision- with my day job as a lawyer it would have been quite easy to dismiss the idea of prioritizing a creative outlet and I certainly did not have much encouragement and/or understanding from my colleagues about why I was spending the little free time I had in this fashion. Focus coupled with persistency (along with some patience) are attributes I had to cultivate even when the ultimate outcome was not entirely clear- and it is still unfolding today. I derive a lot of joy and creative fulfillment from continuing down this nontraditional path.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
It would have to be a tie between the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the High Museum- I had the opportunity to see the Chihuly and Yayoi Kusama exhibits respectively and they were really exquisite- we’re fortunate to have such a wide variety of cultural offerings in town and I look forward to exploring more of them.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I give a shoutout to anyone who ever had the courage to question the status quo- each time anyone steps up to the plate to do so it communicates an expanded sense of what is possible in the world to everyone else.

Website: https://bit.ly/2VDjXAz

Image Credits
Blue/Orange background collage- Transmutation (c) IEB Black background with 4 panels- Continuity & Change (c) IEB Personal photo of me in front of bookcase- Don’t Lose Your Indian (c) IEB Book Cover of Reflections of a Mystical Sistah (c) IEB 2004

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.