Mikhailia Petersen is a multidisciplinary creative from South Africa who has honed her skills in styling, creative direction, and stills production. Her work is narrative based and finds inspiration from her culture and love for people. Mikhailia harnesses the elements of history, colour, and the people she shoots. The artist has been nominated for the Design Indaba emerging artist category, however, the program has been at a stand-still. Yung sat down with the young artist to discuss her journey thus far.
Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
I was born and bred in Cape Town, South Africa
What’s your earliest memory of design or art?
My earliest memory of design and art would be a school trip to the National Museum where I saw the Butcher Boys by Jane Alexander.
How does creating transform you?
I’ve learned how to express myself and in many ways, my creativity has taught me a lot about myself.
What’s a lyric that is stuck with you right now?
I love when you count me out.
If you could choose any artwork, which would it be and why?
Tracey Rose, The Kiss. Rose is unabashed to use her own body to make a statement. Described as a provocateur, she certainly moves to shock, inform and shake perceptions, often placing herself at the centre of her art.
You’ve been crossing over a lot into the fashion world, what’s that experience been like?
It’s been trying and painfully beautiful. The reality of resources and infiltrating an industry with gatekeepers has made me even more resilient with the messaging that I’m conveying with my work.
What’s the best poster you’ve ever had on your bedroom wall?
Princess Diana, I was obsessed with her – I took the black and white image from my mother’s Fair Lady Magazine and found an empty wooden frame which I painted royal blue and framed the image.
What inspires you outside of art?
Love in all of its forms.
At what point did you realise you want art to be your medium of expression?
When I realised that it brings me the most happiness even though the return may not instant it’s always worth it.
What’s the strangest DM you’ve received?
To join the Illuminati.
Photography: Mikhailia Peterson