Mama Stories: Kanya Iwana

We're obsessed with Jakarta-born multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, creative director and mama, Kanya Iwana. Currently in Los Angeles she shares her talent capturing the exquisite subject of women's individual femininity juxtaposed with her amazing eye for plays on light, color and soft textures. Aside from her gorgeous personal portfolio, Kanya has photographed the album covers for up and coming songtresses like Amber Mark and Sabrina Claudio. She is also the creative director of her music project, franky.
We were able to chat a little bit about her life as a working creative and how motherhood has intertwined into this journey we call life. Get to know Kanya. 

Tell us about yourself, who you are, where you’re from, what you do?

I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. We host the world's worst traffic but the best street food - at least I think so, still. I moved to the United States when I was 16 to pursue early training in Music and Theatre and graduated with my BFA in that field in 2014. I spent my first 2.5 years in L.A. performing - or at least I tried to. I did some small cafe performances and I auditioned a lot, and had very little-to-no luck. It took me long enough to realize where my passion really lies, and my pregnancy really helped me realize what I was meant to do: create. I put performing on hold and enrolled in film school when I was 5 months pregnant and did a directing program. I found love for narrative photography in the process. I started creating still-like photographs, and around the time Milo came around, I went freelancing full-freaking-time. It was a crazy leap, but I took it, and with hard work and perseverance it's been going very well. I'm also working on a music project under Franky, which is the name of my late father. I'm excited to see my two favorite worlds combine.

How has being a mother influenced your artistry?

Being a mom has broadened my perspective. It softened me but made me stronger as a woman and as an artist.
I believe I care about people more, and learning their human condition - their story, which helps create a whole other texture for my art.
Everything's humanized more. At the end of the day we just want to be connected with ourselves, and I feel strongly about this.

What are some things you are passionate about when it comes to parenting?

My favorite thing is to watch my partner watch my kid.
It's the cutest thing - there's so much love and gratefulness in his eyes that I hadn't seen before until she was born.
It's so beautiful.


" . . . It softened me but made me stronger as a woman and as an artist."


Before your children,
what did you perceive pregnancy and motherhood would be like?

I absolutely had no idea what it would be like. Milo was a surprise - the best one.
I wouldn't say I walked into it blind because we did a lot of research and really stepped up our mental, emotional, and financial game, but I honestly didn't think I was going to have a baby until my late 20s. (I was 21 when we found out).

What are some parenting tricks that you can’t live without?

I don't know, I feel like I still haven't figured "it" out. My kid's personality and development is ever-changing. I guess the most relevant thing is to acknowledge that comparing your baby with others just doesn't help.

When you have a night-off (if you do), what can we catch you doing?


Was there anything you weren’t prepared for? How have you overcome it?

How receptive and active she's becoming, day after day. She requires so much of our attention, and we can't ignore that.
I'm personally still struggling with being 100% on - it's hard when you work from home and a creative. I'm taking it day by day.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a mama-to-be?

Schedule "me time"! It's easy to forget, especially if you're a working mama / artist mama. Put it on the calendar.



Instagram: @kanyaiwana