BLACK HISTORY MONTH: As I am of mixed heritage, my new art collection is about looking at what it means to me, to be Black.
I was born in Singapore and spent a lot of my life living amongst Asians, so being Black has always been a vague part of my existence. I have always been grateful to have both of my parents in my life, and up until I managed to have a solid individual opinion, my life with them was often filled with good food, love, laughter and good company.
It was only when I started meeting my own relatives when I was around 7, did my idea of being a Black person started to form. For one, I am tanned because of my mixed heritage, so when I went back to my village, I was eyed with suspicion and often called white, which made me very confused.
It didn’t help that here in Asia I could not find any group of people to relate to, as being Black in an Asian community is being part of a small minority even up to today. I tried to assimilate into Indian culture or Malay culture, but as I do not speak either of the languages, so many things just went over my head.
Now that I have grown into my own person, I am actually very proud to have had the chance to grow up around so many different cultures. I have learned the struggles and the victories of so many people of colour, that it has greatly influenced my work, and made me strive for equality in all the things that I produce. However the more I’ve accepted all these different aspects of my life and the people around me, I have completely neglected the largest part of my heritage, and that is being Black.
So in this month, I’d like to do a tiny illustration every day, to look at what being Black means to me, personally, and how I love and appreciate the heritage that I was born into. I start this little pocket journey with the very first part of my series: the self-portrait.
I’m proud to present my very first self-portrait: It’s now available on Redbubble as a print: