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Creating Identity

As an adopted child I have spent much of my life as a Chameleon, blending to fit in with the world around me with a feeling of always being on the outskirts, belonging but not belonging. When much of one’s time is spent trying to fit in, too much time is spent thinking of how the other person / people think or feel so that you can please and assimilate and with them. This can lead to a gap in self awareness and stifle development. DNA is a funny thing it gives a person their identity without speaking, family through their looks, mannerisms and cultural rituals explain to a child their identity which helps set them on the journey of understanding who they are. Without it one is left to create their own identity which is no easy task.

Please don't misunderstand, emotionally I consider that my adoptive parents are my parents, although no DNA connects us there are certain characteristics I have inherited from them through learnt behaviour. However, there are chasms of unknowing, I am of Iranian / Pakistani decent, my parents were English, eccentric English at that. I inherited many objects, books and historical family heirlooms, especially from my Mother's family who were colonialist's, so the origins of these things stretch far and wide. I found the their possession confusing and overwhelming, as it was tied up with grief and the realisation I still didn't understand my own identity. As I really begin to know who and what I am, it is the unknowing that I am ready to fill. I want to create work incorporating or inspired by these possessions, subverting their meaning and working to transform how they are normally viewed, in doing so I hope to take ownership of them.

I have begun to experiment with this premise, in September I was part of artist residency with Synecdoche Art, we were in the Vestibules within the Bristol City Council buildings. Taking inspiration from Gabriel Orozco’s installation Sandstars, I had my body outline drawn on a large sheet of fabriano paper, and then began to lay out the items from jewellery to perfume bottles, snuff tins and watches on the shape my form created. It was a very simple way of connecting with these objects whose history and function lay elsewhere.

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