Posts in Adoption
Identity, Representation and Art

Starting this brand was motivated by a number of factors, namely representation. Having experimented with numerous mediums and multiple concepts I wanted to concentrate on one core value, which was diversity. 

Flood fill colour on photoshop 

Flood fill colour on photoshop 

Previously I have written about race, my identity and growing up in a world where there were very limited faces and more importantly role models I could align myself with.  One minute I did not fit, the next I did. It has always been confusing, the notion of identity. 

The disconnection from Indian culture that is part of my mums heritage, lost through her adoption has always resonated with me. It has been a productive catalyst inspiring my creativity. 

Mark making with the brush tool in photoshop 

Mark making with the brush tool in photoshop 

Art allows for a platform, a voice to be heard through visual expression and communication. Experimenting with my favourite media - collage, mixed media and print making has been both therapeutic and exciting conceptually.

Whilst there have been a variety experiments with other concepts such as capitalism and consumerism inspired by The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, which I will write about at a later date. I knew I wanted to focus on this notion of diverse, identity representation and trying to create a space to express this. 

This led up lots and lots of different experiments before I had settled on the final design, which I had written about last week. Who knows if these will turn into something? 

Water colour painting that I started and stopped as I quite liked the combination between the black and white elements in stark contrast to the colour.

Water colour painting that I started and stopped as I quite liked the combination between the black and white elements in stark contrast to the colour.

The name of the original piece has always been called Abstract Asian, which is always close to my heart and will continue to be the most important imagery and is an avenue I wish to explore more. 

 

 

 

Research ~ Family Roots

Naively I assumed that I could just contact the adoption services to retrieve the files relating to my mums adoption and viola we would have access to her family heritage. 

How wrong was I?  

The year she was adopted determines the process in which she can have access to her records. Pre 1975 means that you have to undergo counselling for a number of sessions. 

The rationale is to support the person on unlocking their history whilst navigating the many emotions and possible trauma they may encounter along the process.

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This was a big conversation for my mum and I as it is her history and whilst I am very curious to know I need to respect her thoughts and feelings regarding this. Which were and still are very complex emotions and until she is ready to ‘open that can of worms’ it will be shelved until she is ready for that journey. 

For me, I was super curious and of course I still am. But I was at a cross roads. The only thing I could do at that time was think about my own pathway and how I could find out more about my heritage.  

Ancestry.com seemed the obvious answer but without vital information it is impossible to track anything.

What was left? DNA testing. There is a kit  where you can find out about your heritage via saliva analysis. Brilliant I thought, so off the sample went to the lab and I waited in anticipation for the results.  

 

Back to Reality

Having spent two years in Japan, a county so rich in its cultural history and identity, it makes you ponder your own. 

Sadly my nan had passed when I was away so upon my return I wanted to reconnect with my granddad. I wanted to find out about their lives and their motivation for adopting children from three different ethnic backgrounds. 

My mum and my Aunty circa 1996.

My mum and my Aunty circa 1996.

We spoke of his travels, how he met my nan, the trials and tribulations they faced with him being English and her being German post Second World War. Despite the backlash they faced their love kept them together. He was a great story teller and I was enthralled by the details. And it brought us closer together. It helped me understand them as people not just as my grandparents. I liked the adult relationship we had as there is a certain type of honesty that comes from that. 

Despite their best intentions they faced a major hurdle where my nan had a horrendous accident that placed her in a coma for many months. She was pregnant too and lost the baby. Luckily she recovered but was never the same person, much to the distress of all in many different ways. 

Coupling this with the time era, there really was a lack of support for everyone on both an emotional and practical level. How does anyone educate children on their ethnic background with no insight themselves or education on the matter? 

Unfortunately I have no photos of my Granddad at the moment so I thought I’d post lovely pictures of my mum

Unfortunately I have no photos of my Granddad at the moment so I thought I’d post lovely pictures of my mum

Sadly this created a void for everyone so much so that even my mum did not tell me about the adoption. My Granddad did when we were on holiday in Great Yarmouth. I remember feeling so confused particularly as the information was just delivered matter of factly with no emotion to  buffer the blow. A sign of that generation I believe. Deal with it. I was eleven at the time I think. The feeling of shock is still with me as if it was yesterday. 

And then of course there were lots of questions I wanted answering. What does this mean? Who are you? Who are we? Oh we are not related, none of us are? This is so confusing. 

But because my mum had never told me I didn’t want to ask her as I felt her shame. Shame of being from a different background. I recall her saying things like

“I wish I wasn’t one of them”,

referring to Indian women as we drove through Leicester and my Granddad placing his hand over hers and responding with “I know”. Lots of comments hinting towards her shame began to resurface. How could I bring it up? 

Lovely photo of my mum 

Lovely photo of my mum 

Such a shame literally. As there has never been celebration towards her cultural heritage, allowing her to embody that element, understand it and embrace it. Instead it was the complete opposite, bury it, lift up the rug and sweep it under. Let’s ignore it. Let’s pretend that element of your identity does not exist. 

But that was not going to be a deterrent for me.