Finding My Identity

Finding My Identity - student project

5 years ago, I found my birth family, culture & identity. I am a mixed-race baby of the 60's, hidden away by the pressure of social stigma, but here I am. This painting is a declaration of the value of life and the importance of understanding identity.

When I first created this painting, I painted the huia feather as a knee-jerk reaction to my birth mother's refusal to acknowledge my life. The huia bird, native to New Zealand, was hunted to extinction when the visiting Governor upon receiving the feather in 1901, returned to London wearing the treasure. This symbol of importance helped to eliminate the bird, as everybody wants social status.

I felt like the extinct huia bird, slain on the altar of other people's opinion. But a year later, at a different exhibition, I looked at my painting and the meaning of the art had changed for me. I no longer wanted to be held captive by someone else's viewpoint. I could decide who I was and my own worth.

The huia feather then symbolized my value, for in Mト{ri tradition, this feather is only given to prominent and important people, and I can choose to give this to myself. I am here and my life matters.

'Here I Am' Acrylic on linen, 61 x 61cm 

Mixed Media Artist

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