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Photography by Isabella Dias

Sula Collective: an online magazine for and by people of colour

Co-founders of Sula Collective, Sophia Yuet and Kassandra Piñero joined forces after meeting online while working for another online publication. Both being art majors, photographers and writers, their creative endeavors were bound to conjoin. I interviewed Kassandra to find out more about Sula Collective.

Tell our readers about the name “Sula Collective”. How did the idea for Sula Collective come about?

I came up with the name while brainstorming ideas related to literary figures of color. I was a writing and literature major at the time so that was where my main source of inspiration for everything came from- me referring back to books. Toni Morrison is one of the greatest writers of our time so by searching for her I came across Sula and it was the perfect fit.

What has been the reaction to Sula by those who contribute to it and those who engage with it online?

People are extremely supportive! We haven’t really faced any backlash which we’re extremely grateful for. A lot of people are interested in contributing to both online and print issues, but the enthusiasm for print is a bit stronger which is understandable – there’s nothing like holding your work in your own two hands. But all around everyone is just happy to be receiving representation for once which is what we’re most proud of.

Tell our readers about some of the offline developments that have taken place since you started in 2015.

We’ve only hosted two events personally which were picnics in New York and London, but we’ve attended many zine and print fests since then. We have also hosted zine making workshops and the like. We’ll be getting more into offline engagement this year!

Photography by Ihab Amari

Tell our readers about why you feel creative mediums offer an opening to the sharing of hopes, frustrations and experiences for people of colour?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid and at one point considered stopping because I had never read any books about Puerto Ricans, and that was the only life I knew. Once I got older and realized I was represented in literature and art I became a more confident person and no longer hesitated in calling myself an artist. So when Sophia and I created Sula that was something we wanted to give back to our communities. Kids and adults shouldn’t have to go to specialized sections to read about our own people. Whiteness should not be the default and we wanted to be a part of that representation. The internet today is the main source of information for young kids just beginning to find themselves, and Sula is a place where these kids can see others who are of the same ethnicity or nationality creating all kinds of work. That’s an extremely important thing for them to have as they are coming into themselves as fully grown human beings. All too often we come from homes where emotions aren’t shared openly as is common among people of colour, so to give people a place to vent and explore themselves as artists is an important thing. We want all types of art to be represented among us and not just the kind your middle school art teacher tells you is important. We are open to all mediums.

Tell our readers about the importance of people of colour establishing a relationship with the online on our own terms through platforms such as Sula Collective?

The relationships we have all formed through Sula are some of the closest friends we have ever made! I’ve met some of my best friends through this magazine and am surrounded by so many people who support my art and have helped me become a more confident person. We can’t stress the importance of community enough. Life is a lot easier when you have the reassurance that comes with a community who endlessly loves and supports you.

What is the vision you have for Sula?

Sophia and I hope Sula can become something much bigger than it is now. We’d love to expand to helping our communities in ways more tangible than we are now by hosting events and workshops and other things. We don’t want to give away too much just yet! We love being a magazine and we love being so focused in the arts, but we want to help be part of the movement and we’re brainstorming ways to do so.

What are you working on at the moment?

We just released our Spring issue and our next online issue will be out June 1st! We should have a two year anniversary issue out in September and maybe a special event to go along with it so keep your eyes peeled.

Photography by Pinky Ortiz
Photography by Amarachi Nwosu

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