Yannis Lobaina

Pictured above: Self-portrait from the series 'Inner Peace' (2020).
Yannis Lobaina is a Cuban award-winning artist, writer, producer, emerging filmmaker and photographer based in Toronto. Yannis loves to explore the themes of immigration, diaspora, and motherhood through various storytelling tools. 

Yannis has over a decade of experience as a published author and has published more than 25 short fiction stories and flash non-fiction worldwide. Recent publications include “Detour”, “Hope”, “Florecer”,”I'm an Island”,  “Under the Christmas Tree”, issued in the Stories We Share, Volume 2 Published by MUSE Arts,(2021),  "Canadiana Boots" in Tint Journal Magazine (2020) and  "Deeply Rooted" (2020) with publisher Editorial Mapale.  

Recent accomplishments include receiving Toronto Arts Foundation’s RBC Space award (2021), Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant (2019), and Toronto Arts Foundation’s RBC Arts Access Fund (2019, 2018). The later helped fund her photography exhibition "Rebirth" (Raw Artist Network, Mod Club 2019), and supported the facilitation of multiple creative writing and Bilingual (Spanish/English) storytelling workshops for children in various Toronto Public Libraries. 

Yannis has also produced over 40 short fiction and documentaries in Cuba. As an emerging photographer, Yannis is currently focusing on minimalist photographic storytelling that explores pattern relationships found in nature and human form. Her passion is capturing fleeting moments and unusual beauty that surrounds us. Yannis is currently pursuing Creative Writing at University of Toronto. Learn more about her work by visiting https://enlareddeltiempo.com/yannislobainaphotography

What does it mean for you to be an artist during these challenging times? Has the meaning of that word as it applies to you and your work shifted?

Being an artist in these difficult times is a great responsibility to humanity. First, the entire world during this long period of the pandemic has taken refuge in art, creativity and community. Being a creative person has been the only way to get through this moment with a little harmony and to help others find an incentive to keep going.

Has the meaning of that word that applies to you and your work changed? 
Absolutely, As human beings, we constantly change and evolve as creatives. Being a mother and an immigrant has changed the way I interpret art and my work. Now, I am more aware of what I want to communicate and of the importance of this gift of being a creative person and being a channel to inspire my daughter and new generations with my creative projects. 

Advice for other newcomer female artists?

My best advice to newcomer female artists is to never give up on your dreams, even when many detours block your path, even if other people are telling you that your goals are impossible in Canada. Only you have the real strength to make your dreams come true. Network with different cultures and communities. Research. Study. Embrace the journey. Repeat. 

Any comments on the upcoming exhibition at Remote

"Alive, Upside Down" is a series of 12 photographs about the power of finding calm in the chaos that surrounds us globally. My photography is inspired by Mother Nature as the protagonist. I like to highlight the uniqueness, patterns and beauty of each simple and everyday thing that few people stop to observe. 

Being recognized as an award finalist for Toronto Arts Foundation’s RBC Space Award has helped me be able to materialize this photography project. Infinitely grateful.

Book your visit to Yannis’s exhibition at Akin’s Remote Gallery here.

AWAKENING. Series: Alive, Upside Down.

FEMALE SPIRIT, AN OAK TREE. Series: Alive, Upside Down

MUDRAS. Series: Alive, Upside Down.