We had the good fortune of connecting with Maimouna Camara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maimouna, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My balance between work and life had to be redefined. For a while, I was always counting on work to give me good, you know what great results, so I could live life. Happily , Tip in one direction at a time. Through my lens, balance comes from the virtues of patience, and acknowledgement. I understand that my emotions are varied, and I can’t ever be stuck in one mode. balance has helped me embraced a fluidity of emotions, thought, perspective and comfort with myself and the folk who bring love to life and the craft of art I enjoy. When I’m producing a collection of live performance art, I am so happy to delve into the storytelling of our histories, and leave the day knowing we, as folk, are getting closing to a wholly understanding. To be able to practice our power of active listening and tap into the artist we all have inside of ourselves.
I’ve learned that my true balance has been honoring the artist that stays true to the evolving human I am. I embrace the balance as forever changing. I look forward to the growth I will experience, in 5, 10 years and hopefully teach others how liberating growth can feel.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work as a performing arts producer captures a lot of the healthy mediums I use to stay in tune with myself. At this time in my life, working with storytellers (writers, producers, actors/directors) has paved a way to support a healthier mindset to understand more critically the moving world around us. I find great honor in working with challenging, yet rewarding pieces of performance art that capture the cultural genius that instills in us.
The beginnings of my producing work began in undergrad when I worked for a cultural arts resource center for students on campus. We facilitated budgeted and produced a multitude of both student and professional shows that focused a refreshing lens of BIPOC cultural storytelling. I was exposed to a brand new way of connecting and networking with folk. A conversation from stage to seat, on the surface seemingly unconventional but really an immersion of true dialogue. I’ve witnessed the stage take on subject matter that is difficult and triggering and grace it with realness and beauty among captivated audiences. And I’ve seen performance work capture love and joy with the darkest of tones and writing. And it’s fascinating asf. Truly. Each production brings in new stories, new faces, and new innovative ways to take technology and the simple face to face interaction and make it feel like the audiences and the creatives were taking a piece of treasure with them after the show. The feeling has always been mutual, I felt like the theatre was a place I could finally call home, so after undergrad, transitioning into a professional setting came in the best of graces. I’m so honored to be able to continue my love of producing with the unwavering, timeless, and loving creatives at Towne Street Theatre in Los Angeles. They’ve helped me grown in all the ways that have cultivated this new idea of being a nomadic producer. I’ve learned that a part of finding one’s peace can unveil itself in a variety of ways, and I choose art to be one of the choices so many of us deserve. My brand as a producer will offer a limitless supply of creative answers of where our true peaces lives. I believe there is an emerging artist in every single person, and wanting to choose to be that artist should be as easy as saying your name, Together in that strength, we can more freely create space to share stories. To cement our similarities, and recognize our uniqueness.
Cultivating a space to share our stories is what will set us free. The warmth and unconditional awareness performance art has molded everything to how I want to change the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles has so many gems to the city. And its food places are definitely where you want to be if spending a week in a LA. If you’re into ramen, Lil Tokyo is your spot, everyone has their particular, but Rakkan Ramen is the place to be. In Hollywood, you will find the best Thai food at Ruen Pair! There should be no days where Black business is not in our itinerary because our Black business folk are killing it. KeiToHealth, a plant based food prep/popup kitchen, is a small black business that has the best vegan food I’d ever had. Check it out on Instagram for any additional popups coming soon.
That should be enough about food, right? Elysian Park is my place to get a good view of the city and bask in the sun. Immersing yourself into the art scene is mostly free if you’re paying attention. LA has been growing their amount of street art, and in Mid City, you’ll find a lot of social justice street art that is mesmerizing and powerful to the eye. It sets the bold and gentle reminder of the folk who use their back to keep our city strong and continuous.
Simply Wholesome. thats it! (Also top 3 places)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many living and still experiences in this world that deserve a shoutout. But to keep it brief in its truest form, the unconditional love of literacy has brought me here. My family who exposed me to the comfort of the pages in a book, to Toni Morrison, who has forever changed my perspective of active reading and storytelling, and to my soulmates of my life, August and Raney, who help me uncover and unveil the new endless chapters of the books of my life. I could not be in my best self without those factors. They give back a world of growth, patience, and acknowledgment that lives with me forever.
1. Sterling Scott, Chinatown 2018 2. Towne Street Theatre | Virtual Salon 3. Sum Poetry, curated by Maimouna Camara. Graphics by Maimouna Camara 4. Sterling Scott, South LA 2020 5. Sterling Scott, South LA 2020 6. Sterling Scott, Washington and Western 2019 7. Justin Staley, In Response Part 3