Laurène Southe: “The only role of an artist is to be true to themselves”

I first met Laurène at a literature festival here in Vienna where she read some of her poems and I was immediately mesmerized by them. A while after that I discovered that she also does photography and it was the same for me as with her poems. They are both gentle but powerful at the same time and have a very own style to them. Also, they are rich in emotion, they make you feel, deeply.

For the following I asked Laurène if she wants to do an interview with me:

Luna Maluna Gri: Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.

Laurène Southe: I go by the name of Laurène Southe. Laurène is my real name and Southe was inherited during my stay in South East London and it has just stuck ever since. I had quite an adventurous life. Raised in Switzerland from the age of three, came back here for a year, and then grew up in England for about 4 years or so. Afterward, I spent my remaining teenage years back in my birth town of Vienna.

I don’t like to see what I do as ‘work’ because I’m still a work in progress and haven’t found my vision quite yet. Art has always been a form of self-expression for me. I guess you can say that I was a reserved child and when I spoke, it was only to spread lies. Don’t ask me why, I just did. Writing both became a communication tool with the outside world and a way of speaking my truth. My earliest memory was when my older sister was playing with a little girl that was much wittier than me. I wanted to express my jealousy and frustration, so I wrote her a letter and she then hugged me to comfort me. I knew that if the words came out of my own mouth, it would have been misinterpreted or ejected and that’s how I fell in love with writing.

Luna Maluna Gri: How and why did you start writing poetry and doing photography?

Laurène Southe: I started writing poetry out of frustration because I couldn’t find any artist in Vienna to write songs for. The city basically decided to turn the cold shoulder the second I came back here and always having to travel to Belgium just to write songs that end up not being recorded or released for xyz reasons was financially draining. It was a very dark period in my life and as a creative, I had to express myself. That is how I was introduced to poetry. Photography came into my life quite randomly. A relative gave me a camera and told me to basically make use of it since I’m creative. It was perfect timing since my psychologist had recommended me to start a new hobby while I’m under treatment. I was at first filming poetry/music videos and wanted to get into documentaries of artists around Vienna but again, it didn’t go as planned. I knew a friend who
was into modeling so I took photos of her, placed them on the internet, got great reviews, and it was even featured in an exhibition! Et voilà, continued from there.

Luna Maluna Gri: Is there something you want to change about the art world? If yes, what and why?

Laurène Southe: I think small because I know that small actions leave a bigger imprint in the long run. In my community, there is a lack of black representatives in the mental health department. I believe that black people are one of the most challenged people in every human capacity. Inside of the walls, I can tell you that a lot of black children suffer in silence because perhaps their families think that mental health is non-existent or shouldn’t be prioritized over commercial success, social status, etc… What is even more fucked up is the outside world doesn’t give a fuck about them too. The thing is and I’ve told my therapist this also, you are giving us temporary solutions for permanent wounds. What white psychology workers may not understand is that we’re not only dealing with personal traumas but also traumas from the past that have been never addressed, generational traumas inherited from our parents because they never sought help and as a result, passed on their traumas to their children. This awareness has to come through my work, one way or another. I will fight for this message to resonate for generations to come. Black people need healing.

Luna Maluna Gri: What do you think is the role of artists and art in our society?

Laurène Southe: The role of art is to document the signs of times. They serve as proof that we were here and felt what we felt and did what we did, whether good or evil. The only role of an artist is to be true to themselves.

Luna Maluna Gri: What role does writing play for you? What role plays photography for you?

Laurène Southe: Writing is an act of survival, that serves as self-expression and communication with the people around me and the outside world. I haven’t found my role in photography yet, so for now, I’m only doing cool shit and attention-grabbing projects.

Luna Maluna Gri; What was the reason for you to become an artist (if there is a specific one)?

Luarène Southe: It is cliché but I think art chose me. Also, I don’t think anyone necessarily chooses to become an artist, it was already written and destined to cross your path one way or another. I have always said that if I could, I would be ‚normal‘ and have a ‚normal‘ life because I’m not a fan of the attention that comes with it, especially at this time. But I know and understand now more than ever that this is who I am destined to be.

Luna Maluna Gri: What does a normal creating day look like for you?

Laurène Southe: I spend a lot of the time isolating myself and doing absolutely nothing. I would then listen to music and dance around like an idiot, dream also and a lot. Somehow, ideas always find a way to appear in my head.

Luna Maluna Gri: What is something you can’t create without?

Laurène Southe: Music. Music. Music. Also, without dreaming.

Luna Maluna Gri: Is there something you want to achieve in your art life? Dreams? Future plans? Or Projects you would like to do?

Laurène Southe: I would like to write songs for artists, live off whatever I may do artistically, bring change in my community and inspire the next artists to do the same.

Poetry by – Laurène Southe

Well, this has been an honor for us to have Laurène do this interview with us. These are not all the questions that she has answered but if you wish to read the full article and gain a much deeper insight into her and her art, then subscribe to Art Uncovered’s Patreon membership which starts at $5/month and enjoy more content. Click here to join.

Copyrights to all the images used in this post goes to Laurène Southe.

You can follow Laurène on Social Media!

Instagram –


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