Sasha Vella: 'That life is meant to be lived, not survived. And that it is in itself worth living'

Multimedia artist Sasha Vella tells all in our Q&A

Sasha Vella (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Sasha Vella (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Sasha Vella is a 23-year-old multimedia artist. She is currently working as a journalist and sub-editor. She recently launched her debut solo exhibition at Mqabba’s Il-Kamra ta’ Fuq, featuring photographic works shot on expired 35mm film.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Take a few deep breaths, feel into my body, and prepare myself for the day. In my ideal deal, I start with an hour of yoga, to release energy and give myself space to wake up through movement.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Kollox jghaddi” - Everything passes in life, the bad, and the good, and we should always remain deeply rooted in the present moment and feel everything fully. Whether we want it gone or we want it to stay, it will eventually leave anyway.

What do you never leave the house without?

Water, book, and journal.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Strong-willed, empathetic, and a fighter.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I find it hard to answer this question because I don’t think in these terms on a daily basis. But the moments where I feel most accomplished are when I realise that I made someone comfortable or safe enough to open up, and that they could find someone they could confide in.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Probably having a nap after a day of work. I know it might not seem like a guilty pleasure, but given the amount of guilt I feel whenever I try to stop and rest, it seems apt.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

That life is meant to be lived, not survived. And that it is in itself worth living.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

Probably my latest film camera.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

You are listened, you are heard, you are understood - more than you think you are.

Who’s your inspiration?

I cannot possibly name one inspiration, for I gather my sources of inspiration from the people I meet, the experiences I hear about, and the sights that I encounter. Nature will always remain my biggest source of inspiration.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge to date was when I found out that I had a life-threatening 33cm cyst attached to my ovary at the age of 19 - and the medical intervention which followed, and left me without one of my ovaries. After going through such an experience, it really taught me the fragility of life and insignificance of most worries. Kollox jghaddi.

If you weren’t a journalist, what would you be doing?

If I weren’t a journalist, I’d probably be doing some work within a green community.

Do you believe in God?

It’s not a question I can answer in simple terms or in short. I don’t ascribe myself to any religion, and I don’t view God as the stereotypical white-bearded man sitting on a throne high above in the skies - but I regard the concept of God as consciousness. The consciousness that birthed this earth, nature, and all living beings.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Daphne Caruana Galizia.

What’s your worst habit?

Using my phone and being on social media too much.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I’m not much of a drinker - but when I do, I do not stop talking.

Who would you have play you in a film?

I’m not well-versed in movie personalities enough to answer this question. But I do get compared to many actresses - none of whom I’m remembering their name right now. But many told me I look like Tina Turner, so I’ll say that.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Inauthenticity. Fakeness. But I typically stay back from “deploring anything” as it probably lives in all of us in some way or another.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Iron Maiden would be nice.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My stones and ancient fossils.

What is your earliest memory?

One of my earliest was meeting my baby sister Kylie for the first time when I was four years old.

When did you last cry, and why?

Honestly, I cry so much, that by the time this is published, it would be an outdated answer.

Who would you most like to meet?

Steven Wilson.

What’s your favourite food?

Anything Italian (and meat-free of course).

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

I don’t have one favourite person on social media right now. I do have one favourite animal on social media though - capybaras.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

Honestly, I would probably go back to Malta in the 60s.

What book are you reading right now?

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Way Of Rest by Jeff Foster, and Ikigai by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia. (Yes, I’m reading three books in conjunction).

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

To be able to breathe under water.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Spend some time in India.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Indie folk and Asian dub.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?